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January 14, 2004

Genital Lesions of Primary Syphilis

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(2):184. doi:10.1001/jama.291.2.184-a

To the Editor: In his Contempo Updates article about genital lesions, Dr Rosen1 did not fully discuss syphilis. Large numbers of cases of syphilis, however, are now occurring among men who have sex with men.2 This is of concern because infectious syphilis facilitates human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission,3 and many men diagnosed with syphilis are also infected with HIV.4 In addition, there is concern that syphilis will spread to heterosexual populations that in the recent past have had outbreaks of syphilis.4 Early diagnosis and treatment of primary syphilis can prevent transmission of syphilis and very likely decrease the risk of HIV transmission.3

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