The Tuskegee experiment

Tuskegee flyer

The Tuskegee syphilis experiment was conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the effects of untreated syphilis in poor, rural black men. It became the longest non-therapeutic experiment on people in the history of medicine.

Doctors identified hundreds of black men with the disease and told them they were being used to test experimental new treatments, but injected them with placebos instead. Participants were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance, but they were never told they had syphilis and were never treated for it even when penicillin was found to be an effective cure for the disease. They were left free to infect their wives and any subsequent children. Information about the study was finally leaked to the press in 1972, forcing the government to halt the experiment.

The document shown is the original flyer used in the Study.

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