October 25, 2005

CUT! Study Shows Circumcision Reduces HIV Infection Rate By 61%

boohbah.jpgIt may look like the folks at the Guardian took a few months to read and digest that Wall Street Journal article about the African study showing significant reductions in HIV infections among men who were circumcized.

But the Guardian account of the study's results actually does have more information, so it's worth the wait and the read:

  • researchers think it's the high concentration of Langerhans cells--an HIV virus favorite--in the foreskin that may account for the lowered transmission rate.
  • scientists worry that the lowered infection rate--which they say is comparable in its efficacy to a working vaccine--may lead circumcized men to practice unsafe sex.
  • Unsafe for their partners, that is. Circumcision doesn't diminish the HIV risk to women or "receptive anal sex" partners of gay men.

    I just hope the folks who gave their kid's future horndog status as their rationale for circumcision ["because how's a guy gonna get any play in this country with an uncut penis?"] will go the extra step, and make sure their boys are health-risk-conscious, respectful horndogs.

    Male circumcision reduces HIV risk by 60%, says study [guardian via tmn]
    Previously: Circumcision reduces HIV risk - WSJ; Re: Your Son's Penis

  • 14 Comments

    It is when I see articles like these I sigh and think that someone again paid for another study. This is what will give the mutilators fodder for their crusade for male genital mutilation legitimacy for years to come.
    I can understand the religious aspect, it is up to each parent to decide for themselves if they want to follow an ancient tradition, that btw is no longer necessary nor needed in this age of cleanliness and access to running water. It is all about how you contextualize your philosophy of choice.

    With hopes they all have a fine day,
    /Lindus

    Tooth extraction reduces the occurrence of cavities by 100%.

    But Lindus, how do you really feel about the issue?

    [clearly, not desensitized by it at birth thanks to the unsanctioned intervention of his parents... -ed.]

    but Lindus, The "ancient tradition" of circumcision usually doesn't make any claim to better personal hygiene. That's why it's called religion, or else it would be called biology or sumthin.

    Carl Lumma: Excellent comment :)

    Merle: I am still in one piece, no mutilation done to neither me nor my offspring

    JoeDad: Well, the classic example of hygiene is taken from when Americans started the common practice of male genital mutilation before they went to war in Europe in WWI. The recruits were told that circumcision would be better for them in the dirty trenches and so when they got home they did the same to their offspring and from then on... When it comes to religion it mostly stems from the times when most followers lived under rather unsanitary conditions. Whether this behaviour really was warranted or if it just was to differentiate themselves from non-believers is as far as I am concerned anybody's guess. They claim it has nothing to do with hygiene but from the information I have acquired I suspect this was really the case.

    With hopes they all have a fine time,
    /Lindus

    4 points:

    1) why are so people vehement about this - to each his own but you'd think that most people are killing their kid not just circumsizing

    2) A friend of mine said his father (at 30 no less) had to get circed because he kept getting infections - then my stepmother mentioned that her nephew wish he was circed because he occasionally got infections as well.

    3) To Lindus, Lumma et. al - I hope the women/men in your lives don't get their ears pierced because I sigh and realize why would you not only mutilate the ears but then you stick pieces of steel in them. Crazy!!! For vanity no less

    4) I had my son circumsized and laughed when he cried. Then I took the foreskin and had a satanic offering with it.

    [great, I think we're finding the level of the room here. -ed.]

    What's this?

    None of you upstanding folks in the "don't cut it" camp watch porn?

    "Hey Daddy, how come my johnson doesn't look like Mr. Digglers'?"

    Oh, and you think your "un-chainsawed" kid won't find some porn before you get a chance to have "the talk" with them?

    Right.

    LOL.

    Oh, and yes, of course I guide my only life based on pop culture...ha,ha.

    This discussion thread, as well as the July 2005 circumcision thread, brings up an interesting issue of tradition. I don't consider myself politically or socially or religiously conservative by any means--but since having my first child a year ago I have a new appreciation for "old ways" of doing some things, especially when it comes to having children. While this may or may not apply to the circumcision issue, I recall that many anti-circ posters have pointed out, "why do something that isn't necessary?" And I think that they intend it as a rhetorical question, but there's an answer to that. We do lots of things that aren't necessary--art, music, feast with loved ones on Thanksgiving every year (sometimes at great expense and travel-hassle)...If we didn't, we wouldn't have connections to each other and to our past and future.

    My wife left this decision entirely on my shoulders. She didn't want to circ. so I really did struggle with the decision and waited until we were about to leave the hospital. I decided to leave him be. Our OB was terrific, I asked her advice and she rattled off states for our home, Houston, 80% white boys, 90% black and about 40% Hispanic are circ. She then told me what happens and how we need to take care of it and I then asked the million dollar question, "Can you do it?", her answer was NO (her emphasis), she didn't perform them (her professional choice). That put me over the edge and I said no. Outside of my mom in law bringing it up every chance she got for about a week, I felt good then and I feel better now about my decision.

    We've had no problems of course outside of the occasional mystery pee bypassing the diaper entirely, his unit is AOK. One more thing, as a straight guy I've never spent a lot of time checking other guys units out so the ěHeíll look different argumentî didnít fly with me. Other than when I was in Marine Boot Camp, I havenít spent much time around dozens of buck ass naked guys. Yeah, three months without a shower/bathroom stall will teach that not all guys are built like white Irish guys.

    Bobo: To answer your points I'd say this:
    1; People get vehement about anything they strongly believe in. This issue is no different. I do accept that people might want to mutilate the genitals of their offspring but I will always question why.
    2; If one keeps getting infections due to foreskin I think there is something more going on. I'd firstly check this persons hygiene regiment, and secondly have this person go to a dermatologist and a urologist to see if there's something more going on than just irritation etc. Maybe it is time to lay off those Y front tightie-whities and change to something that gives one more room?
    3; The difference between genital mutilation and piercing is that in most cases if/when you remove the piercing the skin grows back and leaves but a scar. When it comes to mutilation the skin is removed and will not grow back as much as some would like it to...
    4; This comment is too bizarre to even comment on.

    David: Huh? Your posting makes no sense.

    Just A. Mom: So just because it is "the old ways" it is better? Oh, I bet your greatgrandmother really enjoyed working in the fields and getting water from the well in winter too... Art and culture has nothing to do with "things that are not necessary" as they have always been a venue for peoples' creative sides and without it we would all still live in caves. Your reasoning is illogical and quite flawed.

    John: Thank you for making, in my eyes, the right decision. I believe it will be more beneficial for your son in the long run and I hope he won't be mutilating his offspring in term.

    With hopes they all have a fine time,
    /Lindus

    I have a friend who is an intactivist. He is on a hard core regimen of meditation and god knows what else to regrow his foreskin.

    Dude is SERIOUS.

    Sigh...lots of misinformation. To address a few points:

    -I don't know why one would think there is some paid conspiracy behind these studies--there's little money in the circumcision business
    -Moreover, one of the biggest studies was a Canadian national health study which is obviously not profit-driven and not US-biased
    -Regarding the opinion that "there is something more going on" with hygiene, studies also show that even with the best-controlled hygiene there is still increased risk of infection
    -It's not just one "conspiracy" of studies but several around the world that have demonstrated lower infection/transmission of HIV and HPV in circumcised men

    Again, the reason the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend it as standard of practice is because the infection risk is fairly low overall, so they leave it as a choice. But the benefits are statistically significant.

    And Lindus, of course people are going to get vehement when you are accusing them of child torture and mutilation, and accusing the medical profession of being bought off by some pro-circumcision cartel.

    Lindus,

    First you say this:

    3; The difference between genital mutilation and piercing is that in most cases if/when you remove the piercing the skin grows back and leaves but a scar. When it comes to mutilation the skin is removed and will not grow back as much as some would like it to...

    But I say:

    That the skin growing back "makes it ok or acceptable" vs just removing altogether is bullshit.(You're teetering on semantics) I mean isn't the fact that you're slicing the skin of an infant the problem with the anti-circ crowd? (Nu? What's the difference between slicing skin of a baby who probably doesn't know the pain difference between that and being hungry as opposed to sticking a needle through the ear of a 2 year old just so you think she'll be pretty)

    If you look at the definition of mutilation:

    To deprive of a limb or an essential part;
    To disfigure by damaging irreparably:
    To make imperfect by excising or altering parts.

    You could say that about ear piercing or nose piercing or circumcision or watching 5 hours of tv a day.

    You could live a perfectly fine life whether you are circed or not so don't sigh your self-righteous know-it-all, pompous, low-intelligent, smug attitude at us. Ok?

    Thanks

    Bobo

    ps: I looked up your IP address and have decided to throw those numbers that into my prior mentioned satanic sacrifice.

    Finally! A solution to the circ debate: it's a conspiracy of unhygenic religionists who dominate the medical industry. And there's satanic sacrificing involved. the only things missing are banking and hollywood.

    Why don't I see this ending well?

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