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Lee and Christensen Statement on U.S. Public Health Service Sexually Transmitted Disease Inoculation Study of 1946-1948

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Congresswoman Donna Christensen (D-VI), co-chair of the Health and Wellness Taskforce, reacted to news that U.S. government medical researchers intentionally infected people with sexually transmitted diseases during the 1940s.

Today, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius apologized for the U.S. Public Health Service Sexually Transmitted Disease Inoculation Study of 1946-1948. Hundreds of people in Guatemala, including patients at a mental health hospital, were infected with gonorrhea and syphilis.Congresswomen Lee and Christensen released the following statement:

"This revelation is a stark reminder of the 'dark days' of medicine when many then revered physician-scientists thought nothing of using African Americans and foreigners for experimentation with devastating consequences to those victims.

"Even today, the memories of Tuskegee Syphilis Study are reinforced by the discrimination many people of color continue to experience, fueling mistrust of the healthcare system among those who need it most.

"While this new revelation is a painful reminder of how poorly served so many vulnerable individuals were at the hands of federally-funded research projects, we applaud Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius for taking the very bold and very honest step to expose this, and to send the very clear message that such practices will never happen again."

 

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