20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

Jacob Miller - July 13, 2017

The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, also known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study was a clinical study conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service between 1932 and 1972. The purpose of the study was to observe the natural progress of untreated syphilis in rural African-American men. The patients were told that they were receiving free health care from the United States Government.

The Public Health Service, in collaboration with the historically black college Tuskegee University, enrolled 600 African American sharecroppers. 399 of these men had been previously diagnosed with syphilis. The subjects were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance for participating in the study. When funding was cut, the experiment continued without telling the subjects that they would never receive treatment.

In 1947, penicillin had become the standard treatment for penicillin. The scientists elected to withhold treatment. The scientists also prevented the participants from accessing syphilis treatment available to the other members of the community.

The study continued until 1972, when the experiment was leaked to the press by Peter Bruxton. The test was terminated on November 16, 1972. Many men had died, 40 wives contracted the disease, and 19 children were born with congenital syphilis.

Because of the experiment, Congress passed the National Research Act and created a commission to study write regulations governing studies involving human experiments. The Office for Human Research Protections was established to oversee clinical trials. Now studies require informed consent, communication of diagnosis, and accurate reporting of test results. In 1997, President Bill Clinton formally apologized and held a ceremony for White House for surviving participants.

20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Portrait of Dr. Taliaferro Clark, 1932. Clark founded the Public Health Service. He disagreed with the extended experiment and quit a year after it started. National Archive
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
‘Colored People, Bad Blood, Free Blood Test, Free Treatment,’ campaign flyer, ca. 1930s. tuskegeestudy
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Participants in the Tuskegee Experiments were told they were getting treatment from the U.S. Public Health Service. They were not. National Archives
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
They died of syphilis even though the disease had long been under control. Pinterest
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
A pharmacist in 1945 posts a sign informing his customers of the availability of penicillin. Some of the Tuskegee subjects obtained penicillin through outside doctors. Bettman:Corbis 1945
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
A Tuskegee study subject undergoes a spinal tap to obtain spinal fluid for neurosyphilis testing. The subjects were duped into agreeing to the painful and dangerous procedure. CDC
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
A man is tested for syphilis in 1935. © Arthur Rothstein:Corbis
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
A U.S. public health worker drawing blood from a man as part of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. Encyclopedia Britannica
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
An unidentified woman is tested for syphilis. Women were tested in order to allay fears that the Tuskegee study was merely a ploy to lure black men into the armed forces. National Archives 1932
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Blood samples being collected, 1932. National Archives

20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
The USPHS collaborated with local physicians to restrict surviving patients from treatment, as it would contaminate the study data. National Archives
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Research subjects in the Tuskegee syphilis study. National Archives
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
The Tuskeegee Syphilis study lasted from 1932-1972. peru
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
To maintain [the subjects’] interest … free medicines, burial assistance or insurance, free hot meals on the days of examination, transportation to and from the hospital, and an opportunity to stop in town on the return trip. National Archives
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
To maintain patient cooperation, the USPHS gave participants supplies of ineffective medicines, such as aspirin and vitamins. Tuskegee University Archives
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
left: unidentified subjects, nurse Eunice Rivers, Dr. David Albritton, and Dr. Walter Edmondson. National Archives
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
A Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment Subject being tested. Newsweek
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
African and American Men Receiving “Special Free Treatment” from Physicians and Nurses. naturalhomeschooling
20 Photos from the Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Nurse Eunice Rivers and unidentified subject in cotton field. health-equity.lib.umd.edu

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