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The United States apologized today for an experiment carried out from 1946-1948 in Guatemala. US government researchers deliberately infected Guatemalan prisoners with syphilis, so they could test the new drug penicillin.
“The sexually transmitted disease inoculation study conducted from 1946-1948 in Guatemala was clearly unethical,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.
“Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health. We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices,” the statement said.
Clinton called Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom on Thursday night to inform him, said Arturo Valenzuela, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs.
The study was discovered when Wellesley College researcher Susan Reverby found the unpublished notes on the experiment.