‘We’re Almost Done’

WASHINGTON—Assuring critics that the study would provide valuable information on the spread of sexually transmitted infections in rural populations, the U.S. Public Health Service announced Wednesday that they estimate to have the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male wrapped up by the year 2020. “After decades of very important research, we’re very close to a meaningful conclusion,” said USPHS representative Meredith Powell, expressing the agency’s immense gratitude for the patience of the American public, especially the hundreds of black people diagnosed with syphilis but not informed of or treated for the disease at the experiment’s start in 1932, and the hundreds more who have been diagnosed with the disease within the past year. “Thanks to the uninformed sacrifice of our subjects, we’re closer than ever before to a true understanding of how syphilis progresses through certain communities, and we are optimistic for a conclusion within the next couple years. We believe penicillin might work as a potential cure, but we’re not yet willing to rule out other remedies, such as homeopathic treatment, or even, say, just letting nature take its course. This is a longitudinal study, and we’re coming very close to narrowing our search down to six or seven potential avenues of treatment, at which point we can finally begin the study’s final stage.” Powell added that once the experiment was completed, the agency would be embarking on a 50-year follow-up study to attempt to reproduce their findings.