Policy ForumEpidemiology

Elimination of Syphilis in the United States

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Science  17 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5375, pp. 353-354
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5375.353

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Syphilis is currently at historic lows in the United States, but complex social issues and a weak public health infrastructure allow it to persist. The role of syphilis in promoting transmission of HIV infection has elevated its importance, while the Presidential apology for the Tuskegee Study has helped catalyze needed inquiry into the social determinants of syphilis. New scientific advances combined with increased involvement of affected populations could finally help break through toward elimination.