Tuskeegee Study

Topics: Syphilis, Treponema pallidum, Sexually transmitted disease Pages: 4 (1599 words) Published: October 23, 2006
Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male
"From 1932 up until 1972, the United States Government engaged in a scientific study in which a group of approximately 400 African-American men with syphilis were analyzed but left untreated"(http://www1.umn.edu.scitech/tuskegee.htm). The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis was lead by the United States Public Health Service (PHS) that took advantage of uneducated, poor, African-American farmers from Macon County, Alabama. "The experiment origins actually began with good intentions. In 1929, prior to the inception of the study, blood tests for African-Americans were funded by The Rosenwald Foundation for Black Community Development in the South. These blood tests were intended to locate the presence of syphilis, after which treatment could begin" (http://www1.umn.edu.scitech/tuskegee.htm). After discovering that treating all the infected men would be monetarily unfeasible, Dr. Taliaferro Clark, director of the PHS, proposed a more critical suggestion. He proposed to study the effects of untreated syphilis (in its late stages) in the black male, which was initiated at the Tuskegee Institute in Macon County, Alabama. After Dr. Clark retired in June of 1933, Dr. Raymond Vonderlehr succeeded him as the director of the Division of Venereal Diseases. The true nature of the experiment had to be kept from the subjects to ensure their cooperation. The study was meant to discover how syphilis affected blacks as opposed to whites—the theory being that whites experienced more neurological complications from syphilis, whereas blacks were more susceptible to cardiovascular damage. How this knowledge would have changed clinical treatment of syphilis is uncertain (http://infoplease.com/spot/bhmtuskegee1.html). The government doctors associated with the study refused to use the term syphilis. Instead, doctors misled those that tested positive for the venereal disease by informing them that they simply had bad blood. Even...
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