U.S. Government Apologizes for 1940s STD Testing on Guatemalans

Historians in the News

The U.S. government apologized Friday for "unethical" and "reprehensible" research conducted in Guatemala more than 60 years ago, after a professor documented how U.S. scientists intentionally infected people in the country with sexually transmitted diseases.

Susan Reverby, a women's studies professor at Wellesley College, published a paper detailing the joint research program between the U.S. and Guatemalan governments. From 1946-1948, doctors enabled men in prison to be infected with syphilis by allowing prostitutes carrying the disease to visit them. From there, they studied inoculation techniques. The tests, which also involved mental hospital patients, involved nearly 700 subjects, according to the study....

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