US Intentionally Infected Guatemalans With STDs

Hillary Clinton, Kathleen Sebelius apologize for horrific 1940s experiment
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2010 9:55 AM CDT
circa 1956: A patient suffering from tuberculosis is given a course of drug therapy.   (AP)

(Newser) – Hundreds of Guatemalans were intentionally infected with gonorrhea and syphilis by US government medical researchers as part of a 1946-1948 study—even worse, it was done without their knowledge or consent, and many were encouraged to pass the STDs on. About one-third of the 696 infected subjects, who included institutionalized mental patients, never received treatment. Today, they receive an apology, from Hillary Clinton and Kathleen Sebelius.

"Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health," they wrote in a joint apology. "We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices." The study—which passed on the STD though direct inoculations and the use of infected prostitutes—was trying to determine if penicillin could prevent syphilis, reports MSNBC. (Read more STD stories.)

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