December 14, 2006

Cut & Dry: Circumcision Lowers AIDS Risk

It's official now. After a French study in South Africa showed the same results last year, the US and the WHO have made pronouncements about two large-scale studies in Africa that showed circumcision significantly lowered men's risk of HIV infection from heterosexual intercourse

Circumcision is “not a magic bullet, but a potentially important intervention,” said Dr. Kevin M. De Cock, director of H.I.V./AIDS for the World Health Organization.
Are you-- Is his-- No, you know what? I'm not even gonna mention it.

Circumcision Halves H.I.V. Risk, U.S. Agency Finds [nyt]
Previously: study: circumcision reduced HIV risk, but conservatives face quandary

3 Comments

is this article for real? i mean the doctors name is De Cock?

i'm joking of course, i've read it on other sites as well.

But, don't forget, this refers to recommendations for AFRICA not NORTH AMERICA.

Africa has very specific problems with the AIDS epidemic in relation to the sexual norms of hetero men that we generally do not have here. In fact, I'd be willing to bet the highest rate of hetero trasmission in NA is in relation to intravenous drug use. But I could be wrong.

I do not believe that anyone is changing the standing recommendations that circumcision is not medically nescessary in North America.

[good point. the articles and the studies, too, are all in the context of adult HIV prevention in Africa. Nothing at all relating to infants. -ed.]

Let's also not forget:

1- Africans have a higher rate of transmission to begin with, as they're more susceptible to HIV. So while this MIGHT be applicable to African Americans and other ethnic groups that are non-European in origin, it may be less applicable to those of European descent.

2- If we're going by this study, the non-circumcised male seems to have the same risk of contracting HIV as a female. We're not calling for the genital mutilation of females are we?

3- "Rate of transmission" still requires that the person have unprotected (or flawed barrier) sexual intercourse with someone who is both HIV positive and has a viral load. Americans have better access to HIV testing and antiviral medications.

4- If circumcision had a positive impact on the rate of HIV transmission, we'd see lower rates of infection in the US than we do in Europe, as more males are circumsized in the US than in Europe. Rates of infection are LOWER because of more comprehensive sexual education.

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