Short Answer Questions
- What was the Tuskegee syphilis study?
- What is the difference between a control group and a test group?
- Why were the initial studies of the HIV-inhibiting treatment Zidovudine stopped as soon as it was discovered that it reliably produced a 2/3 reduction in congenital HIV transmission?
For Further Discussion
- Ethics behind Tuskegee. Tuskegee was among the darker episodes in the history of medical research.
HIV-Testing in underprivileged societies. Treatments like Zidovudine have been shown to significantly reduce the replication of the HIV virus. But a controversy has arisen out of its continued study in developing countries.
- Had you heard of the Tuskegee experiment before? What is you reaction to it?
- Had you heard of any other government experiments on unwitting participants? Reactions?
- Say as specifically as you can which parts of Tuskegee you take to be most objectionable.
- Think now about the ethical frameworks that we have considered in this course: utilitarianism, deontology, and the Belmont report principles like Do no harm, Autonomy, and Justice. How would the permissibility of the Tuskegee study be characterised in terms of each of these frameworks?
The Kass Guidelines. Remind yourself of the 7 guidelines suggested by Nancy Kass for the regulation of research on the underprivileged.
- Had you heard about the HIV testing controversy? What is your reaction to it?
- Had you heard of the lead-testing controversy in Baltimore? What is your reaction to that?
- What are the analogies between either of these studies and Tuskegee? What are the disanalogies?
- What (if any) are the possible benefits of the continued study of Zidovudine?
- Explain what (if anything) you take to be most objectionable to the continued study of this treatment in underprivileged countries.
- Medical studies are normally conducted with a particular goal. What examples of goals (if any) do you think would be acceptable for a study being conducted in underprivileged societies when it is no longer ocurring in more privileged ones?
- Kass takes the most important guideline to consider before allowing someone to do research on the underprivileged is a strong track record of implementing improvements (Guidelines 2 and 3). Do you agree with her that this is the most important thing?
- Are any of her other guidelines that you take to be more or less important than the others?
- Going through each of the guidelines that Kass proposes, are there any that you take to be inappropriate for determining when someone can do research on underprivileged societies?
- Are there any guidelines that you think might be missing from the list?
- How (if at all) could such guidelines effect the future of HIV research?
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