July 17, 1981

Physicians' Recognition of the Signs and Symptoms of Secondary Syphilis

Author Affiliations

The City of New York Department of Health

JAMA. 1981;246(3):252. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320030044030

Elsewhere in this issue of The Journal an article by Chapel (p 250) calls attention to the failure of physicians in the community to recognize the signs and symptoms of secondary syphilis. Even though syphilis ranks as the third most commonly reported communicable disease in the country, many medical schools do not include in their curricula enough time to prepare practitioners adequately to diagnose and treat properly infectious syphilis as well as most other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). A single lecture on STDs in four years of medical school often represents the entire training and education concerning a group of diseases that infect between 10 and 15 million Americans yearly. Direct clinical training and exposure of the student to patients with these diseases are also woefully lacking, since most patients with STDs are seen in public STD clinics, and few medical schools affiliate themselves with their local STD clinic to