Tuskegee syphilis experiment

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The Tuskegee syphilis experiment, officially the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, was a governemnt funded racist study on the diesease of syphilis begun during the New Deal.[1] The United States Public Health Service and the Center for Disease Control infected black people,[2] who could not read or were poor in Tuskegee, Alabama from 1932 to 1972.[3]

Tuskegee experiment during the New Deal.
The study was initially funded by the private Rosenwald Fund. However, The Fund ended its involvement due to lack of matching state funds, and the federal government under the heavily Democrat 73rd Congress took over the funding.[4] According to the 1995 Abstract to The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment: biotechnology and the administrative state:
"The central issue of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment was property: property in the body and intellectual property. Once removed from the body, tissue and body fluids were not legally the property of the Tuskegee subjects. Consequently, there was not a direct relationship between a patient and research that used his sera. The Public Health Service (PHS) was free to exercise its property right in Tuskegee sera to develop serologic tests for syphilis with commercial potential. To camouflage the true meaning, the PHS made a distinction between direct clinical studies and indirect studies of tissue and body fluids. This deception caused all reviews to date to limit their examination to documents labeled by the PHS as directly related to the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. This excluded other information in the public domain. Despite the absence of a clinical protocol, this subterfuge led each to falsely conclude that the Tuskagee Syphilis Experiment was a clinical study. Based on publications of indirect research using sera and cerebrospinal fluid, this article conceives a very history of the Tuskagee Syphilis Experiment. Syphilis could only cultivate in living beings. As in slavery, the generative ability of the body made the Tuskegee subjects real property and gave untreated syphilis and the sera of the Tuskegee subjects immense commercial value. Published protocols exploited the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment to invent and commercialize biotechnology for the applied science of syphilis serology.[5]

Jinbin Park of Kyung Hee University reports,[6]

"the growing influence of eugenics and racial pathology at the time reinforced discriminative views on minorities. Progressivism was realized in the form of domestic reform and imperial pursuit at the same time. Major medical journals argued that blacks were inclined to have certain defects, especially sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis, because of their prodigal behavior and lack of hygiene. This kind of racial ideas were shared by the PHS [Public Health Service] officials who were in charge of the Tuskegee Study. Lastly, the PHS officials believed in continuing the experiment regardless of various social changes. They considered that black participants were not only poor but also ignorant of and even unwilling to undergo the treatment. When the exposure of the experiment led to the Senate investigation in 1973, the participating doctors of the PHS maintained that their study offered valuable contribution to the medical research. This paper argues that the combination of the efficiency of military medicine, progressive and imperial racial ideology, and discrimination on African-Americans resulted in the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.

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