U.S. Purposely Infected Hundreds Of Guatemalans With STDs In Secret Medical Experiments

medical experimentsHillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have apologized for horrific medical experiments conducted in Guatemala during the 1940s. While they were at it, maybe they could have thrown in a few words of regret regarding the CIA’s overthrowing the elected government a couple of years later. MSNBC reports:

U.S. government medical researchers intentionally infected hundreds of people in Guatemala, including institutionalized mental patients, with gonorrhea and syphilis without their knowledge or permission more than 60 years ago.

Many of those infected were encouraged to pass the infection onto others as part of the study.

About one third of those who were infected never got adequate treatment.

On Friday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered extensive apologies for actions taken by the U.S. Public Health Service.

“The sexually transmitted disease inoculation study conducted from 1946-1948 in Guatemala was clearly unethical,” according to the joint statement from Clinton and 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. We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.”

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  • emperorreagan

    Anyone want to take bets on how many unethical research projects the US government is currently engaged in?

    • Liam_McGonagle

      I wonder about that kind of thing from time to time, too. It’s not as if this was the only such incident. Hell, we’d done this sort of thing to our own citizens.

      http://www.hsl.virginia.edu/historical/medical_history/bad_blood/report.cfm

      So what I find most interesting is the question: “Why did the government feel the need to apologize and bring it all up again?” If the goal was simply to avoid public outrage a far more effective strategy would probably be to just shove it all under the rug.

      So what’re the government getting at? Not that I myself endorse a cynically Machiavellian realpolitik, but with all the mess that Secretery Clinton has going on with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine/Israel and North Korea, why would she stir up a horent’s nest in Guatemala?

      • Andrew

        One doesn’t have to endorse a cynically Machiavellian realpolitik to point out that it’s the only game in town.

        • Liam_McGonagle

          Can you expand on that? What I currently can’t wrap my head around is why she’s bringing up more trouble on herself instead of sweeping it under the rug.

          • emperorreagan

            It is pretty hard to guess at the motive. What are US-Guatemala relations like at this point? The only motive that really makes sense would be that some sort of story was about to break and the calculation was to issue a preemptive apology to dampen the impact on relations. Though that doesn’t make too much sense to me either, because relations should be absolutely awful given the history of CIA interventions and the financial & military support of the Guatemalan government while it was carrying out a genocide. What’s a little bit of STD experimentation thrown into the mix?

  • emperorreagan

    Anyone want to take bets on how many unethical research projects the US government is currently engaged in?

  • Anonymous

    I wonder about that kind of thing from time to time, too. It’s not as if this was the only such incident. Hell, we’d done this sort of thing to our own citizens.

    http://www.hsl.virginia.edu/historical/medical_history/bad_blood/report.cfm

    So what I find most interesting is the question: “Why did the government feel the need to apologize and bring it all up again?” If the goal was simply to avoid public outrage a far more effective strategy would probably be to just shove it all under the rug.

    So what’re the government getting at? Not that I myself endorse a cynically Machiavellian realpolitik, but with all the mess that Secretery Clinton has going on with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine/Israel and North Korea, why would she stir up a horent’s nest in Guatemala?

  • Andrew

    One doesn’t have to endorse a cynically Machiavellian realpolitik to point out that it’s the only game in town.

  • Pb

    Who needs jews and death camps when we have central america?

  • Pb

    Who needs jews and death camps when we have central america?

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Can you expand on that? What I currently can’t wrap my head around is why she’s bringing up more trouble on herself instead of sweeping it under the rug.

  • emperorreagan

    It is pretty hard to guess at the motive. What are US-Guatemala relations like at this point? The only motive that really makes sense would be that some sort of story was about to break and the calculation was to issue a preemptive apology to dampen the impact on relations. Though that doesn’t make too much sense to me either, because relations should be absolutely awful given the history of CIA interventions and the financial & military support of the Guatemalan government while it was carrying out a genocide. What’s a little bit of STD experimentation thrown into the mix?

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    This is one I’d actually not heard about. How absolutely disgusting. Its always a surprise that I can still be disgusted…since I’ve grown so used to mass murder that it seems blase’ and understandable…but inflicting disease in bizarre medical experiments still puts a chill down my spine.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    This is one I’d actually not heard about. How absolutely disgusting. Its always a surprise that I can still be disgusted…since I’ve grown so used to mass murder that it seems blase’ and understandable…but inflicting disease in bizarre medical experiments still puts a chill down my spine.

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