The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the African American Male was a clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the United States Public Health Service.The purpose of this study was to observe the natural historyof untreated syphilis; the African-American men in the study were only told they were receiving free health care from the Federal government of the United States.
How it started
The study initially involved 600 black men – 399 with syphilis, 201 who did not have the disease. The study was conducted without the benefit of patients’ informed consent. Researchers told the men they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term used to describe several ailments, including syphilis, anemia, and fatigue. In truth, they did not receive the proper treatment needed to cure their illness. In exchange for taking part in the study, the men received free medical exams, free meals, and burial insurance. Although originally projected to last 6 months, the study actually went on for 40 years