Syphilis

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1. What is the causative agent of syphilis? How is it transmitted? What are the main stages of infection? The causative agent of syphilis is Treponema pallidum. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease. There are 4 stages of syphilis: Primary, Secondary, late and latent. In the primary stage one will develop a sore in the place where syphilis entered the body. Often times there is just one sore but multiple can develop. These sores are painless so can easily go undetected. These sores can last 3-6 weeks and will heal regardless of treatment. However it treatment is not undergone syphilis will proceed into the secondary stage. In the secondary stage skin rashes, sores in the mouth vagina and anus ay develop. Gray or white lesions that are large and raised can develop in areas that are moist, like the mouth or underarm area Again, without treatment this disease will go into the latent and late stages. In the latent stage syphilis is considered to be “hidden” and a person will not show signs or symptoms and can last for multiple years. As the disease continues to go untreated it progresses into late stage syphilis 10-30 years after infection and ultimately ends in paralysis, damage to the internal organs and death. (CDC, 2012).

2. What was the Tuskegee study? How did it originate? 
The Tuskegee study, which took place in 1932 was a study conducted by the public health service in conjunction with the Tuskegee Institute that recorded the “natural history of syphilis” that aimed to “justify treatment programs for blacks.” This unfortunate study began with 600 black men, 399 of which had syphilis and 201 that did not. The patients did not have informed consent. The patients were told they were being treated for “bad blood” but the truth was that they did not receive any form of treatment need to cure the disease. The patients did however receive free medical exams, free meals, and burial insurance. The study was only supposed to last for 6 months, but progressed for 40 years. Before the Tuskegee study, there were actual efforts to help these men cure their illness, but after the Wall Street crash in 1929 the funds for these efforts were pulled and the Tuskegee study ensued (CDC, 2011).

3. What were the subjects told about why they were being studied? Who told them?  The patients were told by public health services that they were being treated for “bad blood” but the truth was that they did not receive any form of treatment need to cure the disease. The patients did however receive free medical exams, free meals, and burial insurance (CDC, 2011).

4. Based on your interpretation of “Miss Evers’ Boys” and “Deadly Deception” how do you think the doctors and nurses involved in the study justified their own participation in it? 
The main way I feel they justified their participation in this horrible study was that at the time I guess one could say that race played a big role in the way everybody perceived the world. I remember one of the arguments or justifications of the study was that these doctors or researchers wanted to see if the disease progressed any differently in black men as opposed to white men. Going along with the issue of race I feel that these doctors may have thought that because these men were black they weren’t as valuable to society and therefore dispensable. In the case of the black doctors and nurses that participated in the study I feel it may have been a situation where they have to choose between their career and their morals, and the fact that they already possessed a handicap because of their race, anything that jeopardized their careers had to be avoided. I think that many of the black doctors and nurses felt like they had no other choice because these jobs gave them the most financial security.

5. What is the Nuremberg Code? What was its main legal precursor? 
The Nuremberg Code is a set of principles that should be followed when conducting a human experiment. The...
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