John Hopkins University Sued By Guatemalans Deliberately Infected With STDs
— The Independent (@Independent) April 2, 2015
The suit claims that Johns Hopkins University and the Rockefeller Foundation were part of a study conduct in Guatemala from 1945 to 1956 that was done to test the effectiveness of STD medication. Guatemalans participating in the study did not know they were being infected with STDs nor that they were receiving experimental treatment. Some of the participants died from the STDs and/or unknowingly passed their diseases onto their children.
Orphans, inmates, psychiatric patients and prostitutes were deliberately infected with sexually transmitted diseases to determine what drugs, including penicillin, worked best in stopping the diseases, the lawsuit says. The subjects of the experiments weren’t told they’d been infected, the lawsuit says, causing some to die and others to pass the disease to their spouses, sexual partners and children…
The lawsuit says prostitutes were infected to intentionally spread the disease and that syphilis spirochetes were injected into the spinal fluid of subjects. A woman in a psychiatric hospital had gonorrhea pus from a male subject injected into both her eyes, the suit says.
Both Johns Hopkins University and the Rockfeller Foundation claim they should not be held liable but have not denied that the study took place. The lawsuit claims the experiments were performed by doctors overseen by John Hopkins University with the funding for the experiments coming from the Rockefeller Foundation.
Parallels have already been drawn between the experiments in Guatemala and the notorious Tuskegee syphilis experiment in the 1930s where poor African-American test subjects were deliberately infected with syphilis and never told about it. The study was conducted by the US government with an official apology by President Bill Clinton coming in 1997.
The Guatemalan STD experiments had remained generally unknown until 2011 when the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues revealed the details of the study.