Tuesday, May 8, 2012

MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE: Civilians unwilling? US urges Africa to circumcise military

May 7, 2012

US urges circumcision for soldiers to fight HIV in Africa

Male circumcision is the best way to prevent new HIV infections in the military, the head of US anti-AIDS efforts told a gathering of top army brass from Africa, Eastern Europe and central Asia.
"We believe male circumcision is a highly significant, lifetime intervention. It is a gift that keeps on giving. [No, it is a theft that keeps on taking.] It makes a lot of sense to put extraordinary resources into it," US global AIDS coordinator Eric Goosby told the 400 delegates.

The meeting on AIDS and the military gathered officials from 80 countries, including most of Africa but also countries from Surinam to Georgia and Estonia.

Studies show that circumcision can dramatically reduce HIV infections. One study in South Africa last year found new infections fell by 76 percent after a circumcision programme was launched in a township. [Last year? How could they possibly get significant results in so short a time?]
In 2006, trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa found foreskin removal more than halved men's risk of HIV infection. Longer-term analysis has found the benefit to be even greater than thought, with a risk reduction of around 60 percent.

The United States is sponsoring programmes in several African countries with a goal of circumcising four million men by 2013.

Results so far are patchy. Although Kenya is close to reaching its target of 80 percent of sexually active men, Uganda has achieved less than five percent of its target.

"We need the military to take up some of these circumcisions," said Caroline Ryan of the US Global AIDS Coordinator's Office. [So if some men refuse to have part of their genitals cut off, find others who can't refuse.]

Little data exists on HIV rates among soldiers. Few countries are willing to divulge statistics, fearing they will be perceived as weak. [Perhaps they should find out at the same time whether circumcised soldiers are any less likely to have HIV than intact ones?]


  1. Is it me, or was Goosby preaching to the choir? Let's see, Africa. Eastern Europe. Central Asia. These all sound like countries that already have large circumcising populations, no?

    This is going way overboard. The United States is tarnishing the good names of science and medicine.

    Where are these coordinators getting their figures? And are they blind, or are they strategically ignoring all the evidence to the contrary?

    Shouldn't the United States be trying to solve its OWN problems before going to Africa pretending to solve theirs? Incidentally, why is the HIV transmission rate higher in the US, where 80% of all men have been circumcised from birth, than in Europe, where circumcision is virtually unheard of?

    This is going to be another human rights catastrophe that the United States will eventually have to apologize to Africa for.

    Am I reading correctly?

    Are United States officials actually asking African countries to oblige their military to uptake foreskin amputation?

    I thought "those foreskins [were] flying," according to circumcision enthusiast Robert Bailey. "The men are lining up," we're told.

    Of course they wouldn't have trouble in Kenya, the majority of men there already circumcised!

    Where's the "voluntary" part then, if men are now being obliged?

    Absolute human rights violation.

    This is a travesty. Circumcision does not work. It's going to cost millions, if not billions, and African men are already believing they can have sex without condoms, which would outperform circumcision anyway.

    Something must be done to alert the medical organizations of the world.

    The United States has gone circumcision mad.

    We already have more than enough evidence that this whole circumcision/HIV thing is a farce.

    The WHO must be called on to withdraw it's endorsement, and those using their recommendation to endorse the deliberate violation of basic human rights of others need to be publicly shamed.

  2. thishasalready been studied and debunked in the US military. UNaids needs to start looking at evidence.

    "After adjustment for demographic and behavioral risk factors lack of circumcision was not found to be a risk factor for HIV (OR = 0.9; 95% CI: 0.51, 1.7) or STI (OR = 1.08; 95% CI 0.52, 2.26). The odds of HIV infection were 2.6 higher for irregular condom users, 5 times as high for those reporting STI, 6.2 times higher for those reporting anal sex, 2.8-3.2 times higher for those with 2-7+ partners, nearly 3 times higher for Blacks, and 3.5 times as high for men who were single or divorced/separated."