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How the government infected black families with syphillis

tuskegee

Many people have the impression that racism simply involves isolated acts of prejudice. However, the racism that results in long lasting oppression of people from minority backgrounds is typically perpetuated by institutions. People of color have faced institutional racism in housing, education and law, to name a few. Some of the most unsettling examples of institutional racism have involved medicine. In the 20th century, the U.S. government conducted syphilis research on marginalized groups—poor black men in the American South and vulnerable Guatemalan citizens—with disastrous results.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

In 1932 the United States Public Health Service partnered with educational establishment the Tuskegee Institute to study black men with syphilis in Macon County, Ga. Most of the men were poor sharecroppers. By the time the study ended 40 years later, a total of 600 black men had enrolled in the experiment called the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.” Medical researchers swayed the men to participate in the study by enticing them with “medical exams, rides to and from the clinics, meals on examination days, free treatment for minor ailments and guarantees that provisions would be made after their deaths in terms of burial stipends paid to their survivors,” according to Tuskegee University. There was just one problem: Even when penicillin became the main treatment for syphilis in 1947, researchers neglected to use the medication on the men in the Tuskegee study. In the end, dozens of study participants died and infected their spouses, sexual partners and children with syphilis as well.

The Assistant Secretary for Health and Scientific Affairs created a panel to review the study and in 1972 determined that it was “ethically unjustified” and that researchers failed to provide participants with “informed consent,” namely that test subjects were to remain untreated for syphilis. In 1973, a class action suit was filed on behalf of the enrollees in the study that resulted in them winning a $9 million settlement. Moreover, the U.S. government agreed to give free medial services to the survivors of the study and their families.

via Medical Racism: The Tuskegee and Guatemala Syphilis Studies.

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One thought on “How the government infected black families with syphillis

  1. childofthesixties

    I remember reading about this many years ago and all I can say is what has been said about the White man all along, he is nothing but the devil walking around on this Earth. Most of those involved could not read or write due to not being allowed to as a young child therefore they (researchers) knew that they were getting over on these poor Blacks! Makes one wonder what the hell they are doing today behind our backs and we can read and write. Nine million was not enough! I wonder about those off and on again outbreaks of Ebola in Africa!

    Reply

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  • Lorna: OUT OF DARKNESS THE LAST STAND! I do like this new tour idea of yours Paul. Like so many millions of others have stated, you have lifted my spirits on a number of occasions. I am not funny unless I am just talking having a conversation with people. So it is hard for me to think of a joke but, my mother and dad are from new orleans I heard you talk about your birthplace many times. I also think you are a Leo by your astrological sign. You Leo's are something else, HAHAHA, the Lion, the fire the laughter and that courageous and funny personality naturally draws people to you, it's the fire, in your heart and spirit. Sent my prayers up to the one and only God many times for you and will continue. I feel your fire. It makes me feel as if we are friends, like I know you, I guess that is how people truly get to know each other, through their spirits. Blessing, and peace of mind , Your friend you never met, Lorna View Post
  • au: so, why don't he just try it in jail while he's there for 30 years? View Post
  • Truth North: As a mother and black woman, I don't want to jump on the bandwagon pertaining whether black children are targeted or not because a lot of white children have it too. I just want to address the fact that a lot of mothers are in dark because they didn't realize that their child got there 1st vaccination at birth. In the hospital your child get a treatment for their eyes for stds, a shot in the leg for vitamin k so that their blood will clot and hepatitis b. The point I'm making is even when you state that something was always wrong with your child you may not even realize that the vaccination damage may have started from birth so your child may not have a fighting chance to have established any behavior that was normal for them. The other thing is for all the parents on the fence about whether to vaccinate or not and you are leaning towards vaccinations then go back to the old schedule where you start at 3 or 4 years old and remember vaccinations are supposed to be given to healthy kids. Do not give vaccinations to a child with a cold, ear infection, small pimples on their faces it could be bacteria, white patches on their tongues -thrush, blotches on their bodies eczema, fever even if it is a persistent low grade fever. If your child is always hot but not alarming to the point where it is a fever it is still not the time for the shots because it means that there body is fighting of an infection. I just feel mothers need to know what to look for and make educated decisions. View Post
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  • Debo: Thoroughly agree with this post. It is unfortunate the African American community suffers in silence with this curable disease. Too proud, more often than not in seeking therapy and taking medication for this illness. African Americans unfortunately "self medicate" which results in worsening their illness, ie: receiving treatment for Drug addiction and not an underlying mental illness. The vicious cycle yet continues. View Post

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