March 3, 2022

A nuanced look at the Tuskegee syphilis study

"The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is widely acknowledged as a violation of ethics today, but the social conditions of the time allowed the grave injustices to happen in plain sight. In the 1930s, social Darwinism emerged as justification for racist...


"The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is widely acknowledged as a violation of ethics today, but the social conditions of the time allowed the grave injustices to happen in plain sight. In the 1930s, social Darwinism emerged as justification for racist practices. The perceived inevitability of African Americans’ natural “extinction” was used to justify many unethical practices within the study, including the decision to withhold known treatment from participants. The USPHS earned the approval of the United States government after making the case that African Americans would not seek out treatment of their own volition, a harmful preconception linked to the theory of social Darwinism."

Bintou Diarra is a premedical student.

She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, "COVID-19 and the Tuskegee syphilis study."

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