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Monday, September 20, 2010

Higher HIV rates in CIRCUMCISED Men!!!

Earlier this month I wrote the article 5 reasons parents give for choosing circumcision, and why those reasons are not valid. The fifth reason that I gave was the misguided belief that male circumcision would somehow reduce the risks of AIDs .
Circumcision does NOT protect against all STD's and HIV/AIDs infections.  The only thing that protects a man from these diseases is using a condom, not sewing his wild oats in every field he passes by, and most importantly: being educated about the risks and causes of these infections and how to prevent them in the first place.  Believing that circumcision will automatically protect you from a raging case of gonorrhoea, or syphilis, or HPV or AIDs is fool hardy and beyond stupid.

A comment about the studies that were presented at the latest AIDs conference with regards to reducing AIDs through circumcision.  These studies were done in Africa where the populations are faced with horrifying AIDs epidemics that are ravaging many African countries. In my opinion these studies were done as an act of desperation for a desperate situation in desperate countries. The only way to stop the flood of AIDs is the use of condoms and stopping the reuse of needles. As someone who lived in the Congo for a time and witnessed first hand the devastating poverty that the vast majority of the population lives in, I understand the problem of condoms and needles all too well.  Why are these problems?   For the same two reasons- they are both suppose to be use only once and then disposed of, and both require money to purchase.  I can tell you that the extreme poverty of the majority of the population means that buying condoms and fresh needles is impossible for people struggling just to feed their families. Regardless of condoms and needles being sent to these countries for free, they would end up on the black market, sold to make money.  Even if some of them made their way into the hands of the population, after being used once they would need to be disposed of.... But there is no garbage collection, there is no way to safely dispose of them, no way to guarantee that someone wouldn't pick them up, clean them and then resell them.  Hence the act of desperation: cutting off men's foreskins to try to do ANYTHING to reduce the transmission of a deadly disease.

This situation in Africa bears no resemblance to our current situation in North America.  We have condoms, we have clean needles, we have medical care, we have education, we have support services, we have proper garbage disposal to be rid of the waste composed of used condoms and needles. Basing your decision to circumcise your infant son, here in North America, on studies done in Africa makes absolutely no sense.
 I stand by my reasoning that basing your decision whether or not to circumcise your new born son on a study done in Africa makes absolutely no sense what so ever.  I was thrilled today to read an article that finally shoots down any question there could possibly be on this subject:

More circumcised men are HIV positive

By MUSA SIMELANE on September 19,2010

though male
circumcision is considered to have a protective effect for HIV infection, circumcised men have a slightly higher HIV infection than those who are not.
The Times SUNDAY can today reveal that government has known this for close to three years.
It is contained in the Swaziland Demographic and Health Survey (SDHS) of 2007 which still prevails.
This report summarises findings of the 2006 survey carried out by the Swaziland Central Statistical Office (SCO).
The report places the infection rate for circumcised males at 22 per cent while for those uncircumcised stands at 20 per cent.
HIV stands for Human Immuno Deficiency Virus. It is the virus that can cause the acquired immuno deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
The report states that the protective aspect of male circumcision is based in part because of the physiological differences that increase the susceptibility to HIV infection among uncircumcised men. However, the relationship between HIV prevalence and circumcision is not in the expected direction.

So the next time a parent tries to tell you that they will circumcise their male children to reduce their risks of getting HIV/AIDs, you can tell them flat out  "NO IT WON'T"

What WILL save your child from getting HIV, AIDs or any other STD is teaching them to use a condom EVERY time.  It's not hard to do- really it isn't!!  If you are THAT embarrassed to talk to your sons (and daughters) about sex and how to take care of their reproductive health, and how to NOT get pregnant.... then you really need to analyse what your priorities are in life.  It might not be a comfortable conversation to have, but it's one that is VITAL to the future health of your children, and might just save you from becoming a grandparent at 35 years of age!!!
Don't wait till you think that your 17 year old MIGHT be getting interested in girls, by then it's probably too late!!!  Talking to your children on these topic from a younger age will not only build a strong foundation for future communication, but will educate them about the facts BEFORE they get pulled into the world of myths and misguided ideas about cabbage patches, storks and "you can't get pregnant the first time.....".