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Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Women as Victims

William M. McCormack, MD
JAMA. 1982;248(2):177-179. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330020021021.
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Sexually transmitted diseases have once again become an area of medical interest. In the era before antibiotics, these diseases, primarily syphilis, attracted the attention and the efforts of the best clinical and academic minds. The availability of penicillin, with its almost miraculous efficacy against syphilis and gonorrhea, led to the general belief that all of the problems of sexually transmitted diseases had been solved. The clinicians and investigators of the day turned their attention to more pressing problems. An entire generation of physicians—those who began their careers between 1950 and 1970—ignored the sexually transmitted conditions. Although this era corresponded with a spectacular growth in academic medicine, virtually none of the new investigators chose sexually transmitted diseases as their area of concentration. It was not until about 1970 that sexually transmitted diseases began to attract some attention, due mainly to a dramatic increase in the number of cases of gonorrhea. The


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