Friday, July 6, 2012

How many times do I have to say it?!?!?! Circumcision does NOT prevent HIV/AIDS

Please follow these links to review this story NPR ran yesterday about the circumcision campaign in Africa and then take time to comment either directly on the story or send a comment to NPR to potentially be read on the air.  The comment I sent to NPR is below the links.  I'm sooooooooo disappointed in them.

As a long-time NPR listener I was very disappointed with your recent article about circumcision in Africa.  Circumcision does NOT prevent HIV/AIDS.  Perhaps the the most obvious evidence of this is the high number of HIV infected men in the United States that are circumcised.  The best protection against HIV is condom usage.  Circumcision removes healthy tissue that is essential for pleasurable sex.  Many men struggle with a host of psychological and medical complications as a result of circumcision including painful erections, lack of sexual arousal, damage to the glans, and much more.  Condoms pose no such side effects.  It disgusts me that American medicine is helping to export circumcision to other countries when NO medical organization in the world recommends routine infant circumcision for HIV prevention or any other reason, not even the American Academy of Pediatrics.  NPR ought to have at least mentioned this.  NPR also ought to have noted the cultural shift in the United States about circumcision: more than half of all babies born in the United States today are left intact. 

The Kenyans are being sold a false bill of goods.  They are being told that getting circumcised is a weapon in the war on AIDS when in reality all of the "research" done on circumcision in Africa is nothing more than a propaganda tool to prop up the waning industry of routine infant circumcision in the United States.  The fact that some of the Kenyans agreeing to this are adults does not, to me, diminish the ethical problems involved in this circumcision campaign.  These "researchers" are exaggerating and altering their findings to people who are so frightened of HIV/AIDS they are left all too vulnerable to manipulation and influence by well-meaning but misguided public health workers.  I hope that in future coverage of circumcision NPR will make a stronger effort to cover both sides of this issue instead of being so quick to accept "research" that upon further inspection is so obviously questionable.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Now while I realize this comment is probably spam I'm hesitant to delete it just because I do think circumcision is a form of malpractice. Indeed, perhaps malpractice suits or rather the threat of them could be an effective way to deter doctors from participating in this violent practice.

  3. The day is yours Jeff, sorry to disturb your blog.