Could the Tuskegee Syphillis Research Study be conducted today? Why or why not?

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jraineharrison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Tuskegee Research Study could not be conducted today. As a result of the Tuskegee Study, research ethics and principles have tightened around human subjects research. Even at the time of the Tuskegee Research study, basic medical ethical principles were not followed.

The Health and Human Services (HHS) websites provides several indicators that must be met when conducting human subjects research. One of those indicators is informed consent. Informed consent means that the test subject, the person receiving treatment, fully understands the treatment methods, techniques, and requirements for the study. The consent should be given in writing. Contacts outside of the study are also to be provided to the patient. Studies also must be presented and passed through a group called the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

The Tuskegee Research Study ended with a class action lawsuit against the United States government in 1974. President Clinton offered a formal apology to participants and their families in 1997.