October 1948


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1948;82(4):393-409. doi:10.1001/archinte.1948.00020040073005

LATE LATENT syphilis presents a therapeutic problem that is unique. A patient with syphilis in this stage suffers no discomfort or disability as a result of his infection, and he is not a menace to the public health, for syphilis is transmissible only in its early stages. If any benefit is to result from treatment, it must be, therefore, through a reduction in the frequency of subsequent clinical progression. It is common for patients with untreated syphilis to live normal lives, and it is impossible to demonstrate that the treatment of latent syphilis in a particular person has improved his outlook at all. Only by comparing final results in large numbers of patients, treated and untreated, can it be shown that the prognosis in latent syphilis can be altered by therapy. The evidence available on this point is incomplete, and a convincing proof of the effectiveness of antisyphilitic therapy is

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