The Grapevine

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study And 2 Other Inhumane American Experiments Carried Out In The Name Of Science

This year marks the 45th anniversary of Associated Press reporter Jean Heller’s shocking exposure of the "Tuskegee Syphilis Study" a government-funded “experiment” that studied syphilis-infected black men without their consent, and denied them treatment, just to see what would happen, ABC News reported. In honor of the truly brutal hardship of the Tuskegee men, and to ensure their story never gets forgotten, we will revisit the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and two other inhumane experiments conducted by US scientists.

Tuskegee Syphilis Study

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study started in 1932 and initially involved 600 black men, 399 with syphilis and 201 without the disease, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The study was conducted to see the effect of untreated syphilis of the body, but the men involved had no idea of their circumstances. Instead, they were simply told that they were being treated for “bad blood” which the CDC describe as a local term during the time used for a number of ailments.

Read: Guinea Pigs: 10 Most Inhumane Science Experiments Ever Conducted On Humans

Along with not being aware of their involvement in the experiment, the men were also not treated for their syphilis infections, even after penicillin was discovered as a cure for the disease in 1947. The study lasted for 40 years, only coming to an end in 1972 following public outrage that ensued after Heller published his article on the tragedy.

Unfortunately, the aftermath of this “study” still ensues, as decades later, relatives of the men still struggle with the stigma of being linked to the experiment, CBS News reported.

GettyImages-51654525 Ninety-four-year-old Herman Shaw (R) speaks as US President Bill Clinton looks on during ceremonies at the White House in Washington 16 May in which Clinton apologized to the survivors and families of the victims of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Shaw and nearly 400 other black men were part of a government study that followed the progress of syphilis and were told that they were being treated, but were actually given only a placebo. Photo Courtesy of Getty/PAUL J. RICHARDS

Guatemala Experiments

While the men in the Tuskegee syphilis experiment were already infected with the disease prior to the study, inmates who were part of the Guatemala Syphilis experiment were purposely infected with the disease without their knowledge by American scientists. The men were either infected by prostitutes, who were also purposely infected with the bacteria, or through deliberate injection of the bacteria, Slate reported.

In addition to this, American scientists also deliberately infected members of the Guatemalan military with gonorrhea, and exposed Guatemalan prisoners and mental health patients to chancroid, all serious sexually transmitted diseases. Once again, this was either done by purposely infecting a prostitute and prompting them to have sex with well-intoxicated soldiers or prisoners, or through direct inoculation. According to Slate, these experiments were also carried out by the same researcher who would later be connected with the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, and they unfortunately had the same goal: To study the effects of these STDs when left untreated.

The Stateville Penitentiary Malaria Study

In a military-sponsored research project begun during the Second World War, inmates of the Stateville Penitentiary in Illinois were infected with malaria and treated with experimental drugs that sometimes had painful and unpleasant  side effects.

The men were offered early parole or money for their participation in the experiment. Unfortunately, as with the Tuskegee Syphilis experiment, the majority of the men involved in this study as “volunteers” were poor black men, without in depth knowledge of what they were truly getting into. The study continued for 29 years.

See Also:

5 Unethical Psychology Experiments That Wouldn’t Be Allowed Today

Syphilis In Men: Symptoms And Signs Of The Silent STD

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