THE KINDEST CUT
Because I work for an agency that cares for AIDS patients, I
read a lot of AIDS-related stuff that most Americans no longer pay attention
to. So consider this a public service
There is now a great deal of evidence that male circumcision
greatly reduces the likelihood of a man contracting HIV through heterosexual
contact. Study after study, mostly
conducted in Africa (where AIDS is primarily
spread heterosexually), demonstrates that circumcised men are significantly
less likely to catch the virus than their uncircumcised counterparts.
Just a few decades ago nearly every male child in the United States
was circumcised in infancy. Now the rate
is lower, though it is hard to tell how much.
The web is full of anti-circumcision sites spouting statistics of
Some arguments against circumcision do have merit. Itï¿½s a surgical procedure and carries risks
of its own, though complications are rare.
It is claimed that circumcision reduces the manï¿½s sensitivity and therefore
sexual pleasure, but, well, have YOU ever met a guy that suffered from this
I read an essay by an anti-circ doctor who points out that
the current generation of babies may not benefit from the protection from AIDS
that circumcision affords, because by the time they are old enough to have sex,
some new medical miracle will have eradicated the disease.
Thatï¿½s possible, of course.
But consider, when AIDS first reared its ugly, ugly head, the medical
community expected to have a vaccine put together in short order. That was 1981, people. 25 years of AIDS, and new infections occur
every single day.
Circumcising a baby boy not only reduces his chances of
contracting AIDS, it therefore reduces the chances that he will pass the virus
to someone else. The prevalence of AIDS
is highest in countries with the lowest circumcision rates.
We do so many things to protect our children. This is one more.
A commenter suggested that the apparent protection
is due to the good behavior of circumcised men. This is not the
case. Numerous controlled, randomized studies isolated
circumcision as the causative factor. Researchers believe the
unique tissue of the foreskin serves as an entry point for HIV.
Interestingly, circumcision does not seem to protect men from other
sexually transmitted diseases. The foreskin entry is unique to
the AIDS virus.