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September 6, 1965

VENEREAL DISEASE TASK FORCE

JAMA. 1965;193(10):830. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090100076027

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Abstract

Control of venereal disease once relied upon heavy metals and fever therapies for the treatment of syphilis. When gonorrhea was found sensitive to sulfonamides, public health measures improved but were producing only fair results.

The arrival of penicillin dominated venereal disease management. Drug-fast organisms and early failures steadily yielded to modifications, new varieties, of correct dosages. Syphilis was done. The problem was solved. The febrile fifties saw a satisfactory continuing decline in the incidences of syphilis and gonorrhea.

At the end of the decade the "social disease" began to reappear, to move back from its banishment to the horizons of society, to coincide with a subtle social change taking place in the late postwar period. The tiger was not dead, he had not become a docile kitten, and he was hungry.

The recrudescence of syphilis in the last five years is accompanied by an annual million cases of gonorrhea. The

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