The ‘Tuskegee Study’ of syphilis: Analysis of moral versus methodologic aspects
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The background and course of the prospective investigation of the “natural history” of syphilis which was conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service in Macon County, Alabama from 1932 to 1972 (the “Tuskegee Study”) is reviewed. Unpublished correspondence is cited to illustrate some of the attitudes and problems of the investigators. The relevance of certain other studies of syphilis to the interpretation of the Tuskegee data which were not discussed by the investigators is shown. The study is analyzed by the application of some general principles of scientific investigation set forth at the beginning of the article.