Tuskegee Syphilis Research Paper

Submitted By ayannasimmons
Words: 1279
Pages: 6

Ayanna Simmons The Tuskegee Syphilis Study was one of the worst research crimes using humans as test subjects inhumane research studies in American medicine in the 20th century. “Eventually, it included autopsy. It did not include treatment either for syphilis or secondary problems including heart disease” (Edgar, 1992). For forty years doctors watched as their “experiment” took twenty-eight men lives, and infected the wives and children of the patients. The unethical ways the doctors deceived the patients during the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment continues to affect African Americans perceptions on the medical field and the process necessary to conduct human research to this day. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by a bacteria and is among one of the most dangerous STD’s because of the health problems you can have if not treated. There are four stages of syphilis, Early, Secondary, Latent, and Tertiary Syphilis. In the early stages can cause painless sores called chancres. A chance normally shows up on the skin were the initial infection happened. In the secondary stage the infected could have the discomforting feelings of headaches and sore throats. You could also have rashes appearing on your body in places such as the genital area, nose, and mouth. In the third stage also known as the latent stage is when the symptoms seem to go away, but the disease is still in the body. The final stage of syphilis is the Tertiary Stage; this stage happens if you are not treated for the infection. The symptoms could include fever, painful skin ulcers, bone pain, and anemia.3 Other things that Simmons 2 can happen if syphilis is not treated is it can affect your nervous system , this includes damage to eyes and ears. It could also cause your personality and reflexes to change.1 In 1932, the Public Health Service started working with the Tuskegee Institute to begin the experiment1. The experiment included 600 African American men who were share croppers in Macon County, Alabama2. Out of the 600 men 399 of them had syphilis, and 201(control group) 2 of the men did not have syphilis. The experiment was to see how untreated syphilis naturally progressed in men. Also to get a better understanding of syphilis and maybe find a potential treatment for it. The incentive the men had for participating in the research was free medical care, burial insurance, and meals. This is how it was supposed to go, but with lack of funds and the doctors not being completely honest with the men it turned into an inhumane research project. The doctors did not inform the 399 men that they had syphilis but told them they were getting treated for “bad blood”. Bad Blood is a term people in the South used to describe illness such as anemia, syphilis, and fatigue. Even though syphilis is in the category of “bad blood” the African American men were illiterate and did not realize that’s what they were being “treated” for, and in this case not being treated for. During the 1940’s, racism was a big part of American Culture and this could have affected and possibly clouded the thoughts of some of the doctors. If you were African American your life was not as valued as the Caucasians. An example of this would be the Tuskegee Syphilis Study because they only used African American, knowing that it would in death. “As I see it,”