Tuskegee Project Essay

1189 words - 5 pages

Spring 2013 University Medical Microbiology
HW #4: Tuskegee Project

In 1932, the Public Health Service alongside with the Tuskegee Institute, initiated a study relating with syphilis; specifically experimenting if it effected African Americans differently than European Americans. The theory to conduct this experiment was to see if syphilis in the whites experienced more neurological complications whereas blacks were more prone to cardiovascular damage (“The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment”). The experiment involved a total of 600 black males which 399 of them had syphilis and 201 did not have syphilis. These uneducated black males were from the poorest counties in Alabama and was ...view middle of the document...

This organism lives in many organs of the body that causes sores or ulcers called chancres or syphilis sore. These sores usually appear on the skin of the penis, vagina, mouth and sometimes in the rectum, on the tongue, lips, or breast. During sex the bacteria leaves the sores of one person and enters the moist membranes of their partner’s penis, vagina, mouth, or rectum. Many people infected with syphilis don’t show any symptoms of this disease for years, but they continue to be at risk for late complications if not treated. When it comes to pregnant women, they pass this disease to their babies by the placenta.
The primary stage of syphilis is when there’s an appearance of a single sore or chancre; which may also be multiple sores too. The average symptoms for this stage last about 21 days. The chancre usually looks firm, round, small, and painless. Chancre can last from three to six weeks and can heal without treatment which is why this disease is called “the great imitator” because the signs and symptoms are faint compared to other diseases. If the primary syphilis is not treated it can progress to the secondary stage.
Secondary syphilis is characterized by skin rash and mucous membrane lesions. The rash usually doesn’t cause itching; it may appear reddish brown spots both on the palms of the hands and the bottom of the feet. The rashes can appear on other parts of the body too. Some of the symptoms of the secondary syphilis is fever, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, patchy hair loss, headaches, weight loss, muscle aches, and exhaustion. This stage will resolve with or without treatment, but without treatment, the infection will progress to the latent and possibly late stages of the disease.
Latent stage, also known as the “hidden stage”, begins when primary and secondary symptoms disappear. (“Sexually Transmitted Disease STD”) Without treatment the person with remain to have the disease even though there are no signs or symptoms. The latent stage can last for years.
Tertiary syphilis can progress in about 15 percent of people who haven’t been treated for syphilis, and can appear 10 to 20 years after infection was first acquired. In the late stages of syphilis, the disease can start damaging the internal organs such as the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, blood vessels, liver, bones, and joints. Signs and symptoms of this stage include paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, dementia, and difficulty coordinating muscle movements. This stage is serious enough to cause death in some...

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