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ResourcesHuman Research EthicsU.S. Public Health Service STD Experiments in Guatemala (1946–1948) and Their Aftermath – Ethics and Human Research (Kayte Spector‐Bagdady Paul A. Lombardo | March 2019)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

U.S. Public Health Service STD Experiments in Guatemala (1946–1948) and Their Aftermath – Ethics and Human Research (Kayte Spector‐Bagdady Paul A. Lombardo | March 2019)

 


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ABSTRACT
The U.S. Public Health Service’s sexually transmitted disease (STD) experiments in Guatemala are an important case study not only in human subjects research transgressions but also in the response to serious lapses in research ethics. This case study describes how individuals in the STD experiments were tested, exposed to STDs, and exploited as the source of biological specimens—all without informed consent and often with active deceit. It also explores and evaluates governmental and professional responses that followed the public revelation of these experiments, including by academic institutions, professional organizations, and the U.S. federal government, pushing us to reconsider both how we prevent such lapses in the future and how we respond when they are first revealed.

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Hopefully most people with an interest in the history of human research ethics will be well aware of the egregious ethical breaches and misdeeds in Guatemala. (If not we’ve included links about the case).  This item appears to raise nothing new. However,  it questions whether merely reporting a breach is sufficient.  Mark Israel considers that question further in his commentary piece in the subscribers’ area.



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