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Archives a Century Ago
February 2003

EDITORIAL.

Arch Dermatol. 2003;139(2):132. doi:10.1001/archderm.139.2.132

"THE MORAL ETIOLOGY OF SYPHILIS."

The ancient conception of disease involved the idea of Divine punishment: disease was accepted as a retribution for sins committed by the bearer or his ancestors.

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Since then a more intelligent and more merciful mode of treatment has been substituted, but syphilis has not lived down its character as a shameful disease.

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Can any one doubt that if a campaign of education which has been so successfully employed in the prevention of tuberculosis could be instituted against syphilis; if the youth of the country, upon whom the incidence of the disease most heavily falls, could be instructed as to its dangers, modes of communication and if, as in the case of tuberculosis, enlarged facilities for treatment could be provided which should be unrestrictive and adapted to the private nature of the disease, that its spread would be materially circumscribed.

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