A professor has uncovered evidence that U.S. researchers intentionally infected Guatemalan sex workers, prisoners and mental patients with STDs in the 1940s. Now U.S. officials are stumbling over themselves to apologize. Not good enough, says Guatemala.
It's pretty gruesome stuff. According to CNN, more than 1,600 people were infected with diseases ranging from syphilis to gonorrhea and chancres, then cured (maybe) with penicillin. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a statement:
"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."
Apparently the study was done under the auspices of John C. Cutler, the doctor who later ran the Tuskegee Experiments—an similarly dark chapter in medical history.
The Guatemalan president wants to try these crimes in international court, and Guatemalan human rights are demanding reparations for the affected families. OK, Guatemala, you get to infect 1,600 Americans with STDs now. Only fair.
[Image of the Syphilis-causing bacteria Treponema Pallidum via Wikipedia]