Volume 34, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


When penicillin became readily available after World War II it was widely used in the treatment of syphilis. The result was a marked diminution in the incidence and prevalence of the disease, which had once been a familiar sight in the clinics and wards of teaching hospitals of the United States. When venereal syphilis began to increase once more as a consequence of reduced vigilance and of what has been called the “sexual revolution,” it was frequently not recognized by physicians whose training had not included experience with the disease.

A similar course of events took place with regard to the nonvenereal treponematoses—yaws, endemic syphilis and pinta. The mass treatment campaigns sponsored by the World Health Organization and the Ministries of Health of many countries during the 1950s and 1960s resulted in a dramatic reduction in the prevalence of these diseases.


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