Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued an apology today for a series of secret public health experiments conducted in Guatemala in the 1940s.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also signed the joint statement: "The sexually transmitted disease inoculation study conducted from 1946-1948 in Guatemala was clearly unethical," read the government 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."
Nearly 700 prisoners and mental patients in Guatemala were infected with syphilis. The researchers lied to the the study subjects about the tests and never shared knowledge of their infection. The revelation called to mind the eugenics program run in Puerto Rico, when hundreds of women on the island were sterilized without their knowledge, and the Tuskegee experiment, when the government infected hundreds of African American men with syphilis.