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What’s this about the US, Guatamala & STDs?

As an STD blog, we can’t not bring up some headlines that are out there right now in STD-land. The U.S. Government would probably prefer that we sweep these reports under the rug, however if CNN is going to cover it – we’re going to comment on it. Plus it’s an important (albeit unfortunate) chapter in our nation’s history and important to the “war on STDs.”

Guatemalans Fighting Government on STD Experiments

If you have no idea what’s going on, here’s a brief summary per the article on CNN:

  • Between 1946 and 1948, the U.S. conducted STD experiments on Guatemalans
  • They used “female commercial sex workers, prisoners in the national penitentiary, patients in the national mental hospital and soldiers” for their experiments.”
  • CNN reports, “According to the study, more than 1,600 people were infected: 696 with syphilis, 772 with gonorrhea and 142 with chancres”
  • The studies were done to “determine the effectiveness of penicillin in treating or preventing syphilis after subjects were exposed to the disease.”

Read the full article on Guatemalans to file appeal over STD Experiments on CNN.

Tuskegee-syphilis-study doctor-injecting-subject

Guatemalans weren't the only ones who fell victim to STD experimentation. Tuskegee, Alabama also is a dark chapter in our country's history.

What to Make of STD Experiments

We can only hope that the discontinuation on humans for the exploration of STD prevention and cure is over. The sad story is that those in Guatemala weren’t the only victims of STD experimentation. The Tuskegee syphilis experiment will really make you cringe. Thankfully our current administration is apologetic and regretful for actions that happened over the past several decades and laws have subsequently been written to prevent this type of activity from happening again.

As an STD blog, we mention this incident and ongoing proceedings to bring to light the history of STDs. We by no means advocate what the U.S. did when they infected human subjects with STDs. We bring it up to say that STDs were a problem back then, and they continue to be a problem now. In 2012, STDs seem like such a common problem, even sometimes a “new” problem. However these reports show that this issue spans many decades. And even more, this issue was as big of a problem and concern then as it is now.

Testing and human experimentation isn’t the answer to stopping the STD problem. Abstinence, monogamy, STD testing, STD education and safe-sex practices are the answer. We now know that medication (such as penicillin) can cure some STDs and scientists continue to research (through ethical ways) cures for STDs that are not respondent to modern medicines. As we spread the world through homes, communities, schools, workplaces and more, may these ways become the methods for curing and preventing our nation’s STD problem.

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