Famous People Who Had Syphilis
Syphilis is usually considered to thrive in the underdeveloped
world and developing nations, particularly among those who are
uneducated, living in poverty and those who do not have access
to modern healthcare. Lack of awareness is certainly one of the
primary triggers of syphilis because it is a sexually transmitted
infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. However,
as history indicates, syphilis is not just prevalent in the underdeveloped
countries but also among thriving economies and among the rich
and the privileged.
There are many famous people who have had syphilis. Some had
been treated successfully while some lived on with the condition.
Quite a few famous persons had succumbed to syphilis and due to
its associated complications.
List of Famous People Who Had Syphilis
Vincent van Gogh
Guy de Maupassant
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Howard Hughes, one of the wealthiest men in the 20th century
world, an entrepreneur and innovator in his own right, had syphilis.
He was particularly known for his eccentric lifestyle and when
he was diagnosed of syphilis, not many were surprised. Having
unprotected sex or having multiple sex partners are some triggers
of syphilis as sexual contact with the bacteria can easily cause
In some cases, syphilis
is genetic. The bacteria may be passed onto a fetus
or a newborn by the mother. In such cases, it is known as congenital
syphilis. Some famous people like Vincent Van Gogh were diagnosed
and cured of syphilis and it is unclear if it was congenital in
The reason why it is thought that the famous Dutch painter may
have been genetically infected is because his brother too had
the condition. Syphilis is not a rare condition but coincidences
of multiple members of a family having the condition is certainly
an oddity of sorts, particularly among those who are learned,
aware and have access to immediate healthcare.
There are many famous people who are suspected to have suffered
from syphilis and the list includes the likes of Leo Tolstoy,
Napoleon Bonaparte, Oscar Wilde and William Lobb among others.
Many famous people died due to syphilis or due to deteriorating
health partly caused by syphilis. Some of such famous people are
Endre Ady, John Batman, Paul Gauguin, Heinrich Heine, Hugo Wolf,
George Walker, Scott Joplin and Edouard Manet among others.
Syphilis is treatable and if diagnosed at the earliest or primitive
stages then the worsening of the infection can also be prevented,
saving the much painful symptoms of later stages of the condition.