Don't Get Stuck With HIV

Protect yourself from HIV during healthcare and cosmetic services

Introduction to debate about circumcising African men to stop HIV

This introductory page links to other pages: Percentages of intact vs. circumcised African men with HIV – Circumcision vs. HIV epidemics around the world – Observed new HIV infections in intact vs. circumcised men – Critique of 3 trials of circ to protect men – Evidence men got HIV from unsafe circumcisions – Impact of male circumcision on women’s HIV risk – Annotated list of articles and websites on circumcision – How to ensure you don’t get HIV from the procedure – Plans to circumcise 35 million men in 14 African countries during 2011-2015

If you have decided to get circ’ed, and are not interested in evidence or debate, click here for advice about how to ensure you do not get HIV from the circumcison procedure.

To cut or not to cut? Introduction to the debate

Beginning from 2007, WHO, UNAIDS, some donors, and some African governments have been promoting mass male circumcision to reduce HIV transmission. In 2009, USAID laid out plans to circumcise 35 million men in 14 African countries during 2011-2015. This rush to cut ignored a lot of evidence and arguments (follow links for more details and resources).

1. First, the programs are based on the common but dubious assertion that sex accounts for most HIV infections in Africa. If that’s not so, then circumcising millions of men is unlikely to have a big impact on Africa’s epidemics. Is it a massive medical experiment? There is already a lot of evidence that skin-piercing procedures may be a bigger risk than sex for many if not most adults (see other pages in this website, including: sex vs. unsterile instruments in AfricaCases & Investigations; and data linking HIV to injections).

2. Second, even if circumcision reduces a man’s risk to acquire HIV through sex, there are other ways to do so that are safer and easier. Notably, some evidence shows that intact men who wait after sex to wipe their penis — letting sexual fluids deal with HIV — have less risk for HIV than circumcised men (here’s another link on this point). In any case, because circumcision (or waiting to wipe after sex) provides only partial protection, men still need to use condoms to be safe, not just safery. So circumcision is unnecessary, and may increase risk (if a man or his partner considers circumcision an excuse not to use condoms).

3. Third, claims that mass circumcision will significantly lower HIV risk in Africa are based on evidence from selected studies only. Three key tudies selectively reported collected data on sex and blood risks — raising questions about what really happened (one of these studies found but ignored low risk for HIV in men who waited to wipe after sex; see links in pt 2, above). A full view of available evidence shows: more HIV in circ’d vs. intact men in some African countrieslimited epidemics in many countries where most men are intactinconsistently lower risk for new infection in circ’d vs. intact men; and sometimes higher risk for women.

4. Fourth, circumcisions are promoted with insufficient care to ensure that the procedures are safe — putting men at risk to get HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and other infections. Some evidence says that African men and boys likely got HIV during circumcisions.

The evidence and arguments considered in this site focus on interactions between circumcision and HIV infection. This is a narrow approach to a complex issue. Aside from HIV, many other factors are involved in a man’s or family’s decision to circumcise or not. These include other real or supposed health risks and benefits, sexual satisfaction and performance, community practices, and religious beliefs. Other websites address these other issues.

12 responses to “Introduction to debate about circumcising African men to stop HIV

  1. Pingback: Circumcision is a Joke to Some Researchers, but Do they Know the Risks Involved? « Don't Get Stuck With HIV

  2. Pingback: Scarification and Male Circumcision Associated with HIV Infection in Children « Don't Get Stuck With HIV

  3. Pingback: Denied, withheld, and uncollected evidence and unethical research cloud what really happened during three key trials of circumcision to protect men « Don't Get Stuck With HIV

  4. Me March 11, 2012 at 5:34 am

    There still is not a single concrete piece of evidence that circumcision actually reduce the chance of contracting HIV or any other STD. People should be very vigilent with pseudo-researches promoting unconfirmed claims. Do not forget that circumcision also has its risks as well.

    The best way to avoid getting HIV or an SDT is very simple: do not engage in unprotected sex intercourses. Abstinence is also a solution.

  5. Pingback: The African Circumcision Experiment: Donor Driven? « Don't Get Stuck With HIV

  6. Pingback: Have we ignored a very simple procedure that could significantly reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV to men from women? « Don't Get Stuck With HIV

  7. Pingback: Wait and wipe, don’t cut « Don't Get Stuck With HIV

  8. Anonymous October 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Only today did I finally come to appreciate the extent of David Gisselquist’s careful work on the bad science underlying the alleged causal connection between foreskin and HIV positivity. This alleged causal connection formed a major part of the “evidence” invoked by the AAP’s Task Force on routine infant circumcision, in support of its conclusion that the “benefits of RIC exceed the risks.” I warmly agree that the African clinical trials, and the subsequent campaigns to circumcise millions of African young men, are a scientific scandal on the order of the Tuskegee and Guatemala syphilis experiments.

  9. Pingback: What Happens when an ‘Activist’ Site is Bought off by the Multinationals? | Don't Get Stuck With HIV

  10. Pingback: Uganda: Mystery About Effectiveness of Circumcision Against HIV | Don't Get Stuck With HIV

  11. Pingback: Infinite Regress of Expert Opinion On the Behavioral Myth of HIV in Africa | Don't Get Stuck With HIV

  12. Pingback: Circumcision: Digital Manipulation May Lead to Reduced Vision | Don't Get Stuck With HIV

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