Engraved .50 caliber bullets, 2012
Of the many achievements in his lifetime, Dr. Paul Ehrlich is credited for having invented a method of staining tissue which lead to a process of identifying various blood cells, thereby facilitating the diagnosis of various blood borne diseases. His research lead to the concept of chemotherapy and the production of the world's most widely prescribed drug after penicillin - an antisyphilitic named Salvarsan.
Such drug interventions and treatment became popularised by Ehrlich as "Magic Bullets" after the specificity of therapeutic agents which targeted diseased cell organisms. Evident at the time of its discovery, was a rising opposition and hostility towards the supposed loosening of morality and break down of sexual inhibitions that such treatments would catalyse.
"Ideas relating sickness to personal morality have long been important in European and American thought. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, sickness has often been seen as divine punishment for sin. Cures for sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis, have been criticized in the belief that cures would encourage immoral behavior." - Contagion, Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics, Harvard University
In the context of HIV, and particularly in context of therapeutic agents to help prevent transmission of HIV known as Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), support and justification for such an approach has been a contentious issue. PrEP is a strategy that involves use of antiretroviral medications (ARVs) to reduce the risk of HIV infection in HIV-negative people. Although the US Food and Drug Administration approved TDF/FTC for use as prophylaxis, the opposition to such decision echoes many of the same fears and moralisations as the case of Salvarsan.