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February 21, 1977

Venereal Disease Among Homosexuals

JAMA. 1977;237(8):767. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270350027011

To the Editor.—  In a BRIEF REPORT (232:509, 1975), we published findings of an outreach program to control venereal disease among homosexuals. The subject response rate (85%) confirmed the value of an anonymous reporting method; the discovery of two primary syphilis cases gave credence to case finding by field-screening a high-risk population. My purpose here is to further document the findings of this study with results of subsequent field testing. This testing was done at regular intervals in the gay bar used in the original report.During eight screening sessions held at two- to three-month intervals, 396 clients had blood tests for syphilis; an anonymous number system was used. The average call-back rate was 70%. Of the blood samples drawn, 17 were reactive to the VDRL test. On follow-up, four of the 17 cases were confirmed early infectious syphilis. The following is a breakdown of the test results:New early