Since Wassermann and his associates introduced serologic methods in the diagnosis of syphilis shortly after the etiological agent was discovered by Schaudinn and Hoffmann, in 1905, many problems have become apparent in making a correct, specific diagnosis. The use of penicillin in the treatment of syphilis by Mahoney and his associates, in 1943, revolutionized the clinical management of the disease. Now it frequently takes longer to make a correct diagnosis of a case than to cure it. The very effective use of penicillin has been a mixed blessing, since its ease of administration has decreased the diligence of the physician in his pursuit of a correct diagnosis before instituting treatment. Some patients have suffered psychic trauma by the diagnosis and treatment of nonexistent disease carrying social stigma.
The speed and simplicity of treatment with penicillin has changed the diagnosis and treatment from clinic care to the private physician's office. It
CANNON JF. Congenital Biologic False-Positive Serologic Test for Syphilis. AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(3):620-622. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260150108013