The United States Government Purposely Infected 2,500 Guatemalans with STDs

I have to apologize for a gross generalization I often make. It would be difficult to count the number of times that I’ve stated that governments are unable to do anything efficiently. This isn’t entirely true as there is one thing governments are very efficient at; causing harm. Take for example the recent reports released by the United States government that cover the medical experiments that they were running in the 1940s:

The number of infected people could be as high as 2,500, says the president of the Medical Association of Guatemala.

According to a US report released on Monday, 1,300 Guatemalans were infected without their knowledge to study the effects of penicillin.

US scientists knew they were violating ethical rules, the report found.

There is also enough evidence to conclude there was collaboration between US and Guatemalan authorities at the time of the tests, Carlos Mejia, a member of the commission established by the Guatemalan government to investigate the experiments, told BBC Mundo.

By collaborating with Guatemalan officials our own government was able to purposely infect guatemalan people with STDs without those peoples’ knowledge or consent. All of this was so they could study the capabilities of penicillin. Isn’t it always nice when your government does something that can be compared to the Nazis without Godwin’s law being enacted:

Of these, some 1,300 prisoners, psychiatric patients and sex workers were deliberately infected with syphilis, gonorrhoea or another sexually transmitted disease, chancroid.

Concentrations of bacteria were injected into the eyes, the central nervous system and male genitals. Mr Mejia says this was behaviour very similar to that of the scientists in Nazi Germany.

“It took place in the context in which they [the United States] were judging the German doctors who had been experimenting with typhus and malaria on prisoners of war. The Nazis used Poles, Russians and Jews, while the Americans made almost the same use of Guatemalans,” he says.

Of the group of 1,300, only about 700 received some sort of treatment.

This experiment can be added to the list of atrocities committed by the United States government along with the Tuskegee syphilis experiment and Project MKULTRA. There doesn’t exist a government that is truly innocent and people need to call them on their malicious acts when they’re uncovered. Likewise people need to demand that such actions are never taken again (this is the hard part).