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May 11, 1979

Premarital Syphilis Serologies

Author Affiliations

Veterans Administration Hospital Brooklyn, NY

JAMA. 1979;241(19):2007. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290450013008

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To the Editor.—  The article "Should Premarital Syphilis Serologies Continue to be Mandated by Law?" by Yehudi M. Felman, MD, MPhil (240:459, 1978), gives an extremely narrow view of the premarital examination—that of cost-effectiveness in venereal disease control.Legally, at least in New York, the physician who certifies the absence of venereal disease must perform a physical examination as well as a serological screening. This is a splendid opportunity to counsel the young couple before they assume the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood, to discuss hereditary diseases, sex, and contraception, and to detect and correct illnesses and disabilities.If not mandated by law to "get a blood test from a doctor," they are unlikely to spend the time and money for this important "preemployment" physical examination.