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July 10, 1943


Author Affiliations

New Orleans.

JAMA. 1943;122(11):764. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840280048022

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To the Editor:—  The article by Dr. Smillie in the June 5 issue of The Journal concerning syphilis and the Negro, and the editorial comment, serve to give needed emphasis to an important problem. But in characterizing the problem as a purely Negro one there is grave danger of overlooking some important facts concerning the treatment and prevention. Why is the syphilis rate so much higher in the Negro than in the white? To quote Dr. Smillie, "Among the whites syphilis has become, in the great majority of cases, a disease of the ignorant, the careless, the criminal and the social outcast." Do not the same conditions apply to syphilis in any group? The Negro is discriminated against economically and educationally; it would be difficult to find conditions more favorable to the development of crime, carelessness and social ostracism than the poverty and ignorance engendered by the wage and educational

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