Just when you thought there was a statue of limitations regarding that unfortunate “crabs incident” of 1996, the U.S. has gone ahead and sort of done the right thing, owning up to having purposely infected Guatemalans (without their knowledge or consent, obvi) with sexually transmitted diseases as part of a 1946-1948 research study. And, like, they’re sorry ’bout that. It was real uncool. Also, they were drunk!
Per a joint statement from Hillary Clinton and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:
“The conduct exhibited during the study does not represent the values of the United States, or our commitment to human dignity and great respect for the people of Guatemala.”
“The study is a sad reminder that adequate human subject safeguards did not exist a half-century ago,” the U.S. statement said. “Today, the regulations that govern U.S.-funded human medical research prohibit these kinds of appalling violations.”
And, it will never happen again. (You got that right.)
The United States is launching an investigation and also convening a group of international experts to review and report on the most effective methods to make sure all human medical research worldwide meets rigorous ethical standards.
Meanwhile, Guatemalan officials are practicing better self-restraint than we would have in similar circumstances and refraining from comment until they’ve had time to think about things a little. Or, maybe they’re busy trying to contact this bedbug-revenge guy.