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Shortage of penicillin threatens treatment for those with syphilis

Shortage of penicillin threatens treatment for those with syphilis

A national shortage of penicillin is threatening a simple treatment for syphilis, prompting Baltimore health officials to reserve the drugs for infected pregnant women.

All others with the sexually transmitted disease are getting another antibiotic, doxycycline, which is effective if taken properly, said Dr. Kathleen Page, the Baltimore Health Department's director of STD/HIV/TB clinical services. But it requires more treatments and more follow-up — a challenge for the population most affected.

"A major concern about treating syphilis with doxy is compliance, as patients need to take the medication for two weeks," said Page, who is also an...

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