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Books, Journals, New Media
December 6, 2000

History: The Wages of Sin: Sex and Disease, Past and Present

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available

JAMA. 2000;284(21):2795. doi:10.1001/jama.284.21.2795-JBK1206-3-1

Peter Lewis Allen states his disclaimers at the outset. He is not a medical historian, he is an openly gay man who has lost many friends to AIDS, and he is a secular Jew. Lewis was trained as a medieval literary scholar and has an MBA in health care management. The confluence of his intellectual interests, personal experience, and practical knowledge has produced in The Wages of Sin a book that is almost entirely about Christianity and is fueled by indignation about the public and religious response to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United States. The historical chapters that precede the penultimate chapter on the AIDS epidemic serve primarily as illustrations in which one can see prefigured the contemporary recrudescence of Christianity's age-old association of disease and sin.