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
announcement.

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.

Here are a few of the studies:
Kenya
India
South Africa
Uganda

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
questionable origin. 

Some arguments against circumcision do have merit.  It�s a surgical procedure and carries risks
of its own, though complications are rare. 
It is claimed that circumcision reduces the man�s sensitivity and therefore
sexual pleasure, but, well, have YOU ever met a guy that suffered from this
problem?

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.

That�s 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.

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29 thoughts on “

  1. “Circumcising a baby boy not only reduces his chances of contracting AIDS…”
    …but makes for a much more attractive penis, later in life!(Not a fan of ‘natural’ in this circumcise… I mean circumstance.)

  2. Yeah, I’d heard that.  It’s not common practice over here in the UK, but the little guys were done anyway.  My brothers had to have it done when they were about 7 for medical reasons, so I reasoned it made more sense to get it over and done with when they were babies. 

  3. I dunno. My boys are circumcised, but I’m not all about wanting everyone to do it. I think it’s altogether possible that countries with higher circ rates also tend to have access to condems and are knowlegable in their use. Also cultures that religiously circumsize their males also tend to have sexual morality drilled pretty deeply into their believe system which would also go to mitigation of AIDS spread. I think there are alot of circumstances that go into higher and lower AIDS rates and education would seem to me to be a bigger one than circumcision.

  4. And just FYI, my boys are circ’ed. . .mostly b/c two of my nephews also had to be done for medical reasons, when they were 2 and 4yr old. =/
    . . .Also, Papa Bear was sure that he wanted them to be done.  It’s an easier decision once you have a precedent.  I wouldn’t leave Luke un-done, with both his father and brother done.

  5. But doesn’t that mean if we circumcise our boys, we’re telling them it’s okay to engage in risky sexual behavior???  Oh wait, that doesn’t make any sense.  Just thought I’d offer some knee-jerk social conservatism, which you probably don’t get enough of, first thing in the morning.

  6. I don’t dispute these studies, but I’m not a fan of the procedure, which is often done without any anesthesia–my OB/GYN claimed that anesthetics didn’t help much anyway, but I will *never* forget the look in my newborn son’s eyes when he returned to me after being circ’ed. My second son was not circumcized, and I’d hate to see a bunch of “Circumcize your son or he’ll get AIDS” hysteria in this country.

  7. IRYC:  I forgot to check the overstocks this year.  That’s actually how I got an affordable suit last year (which of course, I can’t fit into this year).  I found a suitable suit (ha, ha) at Target, but I still think I’ll go check.  Last year there weren’t any skirted ones left on “overstocks.”  This year a skirt is more necessary than ever. 😉

  8. Since I’m circumsized, I now feel much better about having had sex lately with all of those Bi-Sexual, Hatian, intravaneous drug users.
    I’m sorry, it’s not a topic that should be made light of…that is very interesting information.

  9. When I had my son, I read all the literature the doctors handed me that was against routine circumsision. I couldn’t figure out why doctors were discouraging it at that time(he’ll be 15 in a few weeks) when all the benefits seemed to outweigh the reasons against. Even they couldn’t give good reasons for not doing it, so I had them do it. Circumcision protects against many other diseases, some that are not even sexual. So, anyway, I’m glad I did that. I remember hearing a lot of other moms at the time saying they weren’t going to have their boys circumcized, apparently because of the same literature I was given.

  10. I think this has already been covered in the comments… but I wonder if the studies account for the correlation between access to education, birth control and proper medical care and a lower rates of AIDS. In other words… if a family can afford to have their boy circumcized by a medical practitioner, they can also afford access to education about sexual health, and therefore the factor is not circumcision but instead education. I don’t mean “good behavior,” I just mean awareness. Who knows, maybe people in underdeveloped countries circumcize their sons without a doctor involved at all, which would make my theory debunct. Strange that there is no difference for other STDs, though. I guess that makes my theory debunct, too. Ah well, it’s sad to see so many commenters with such a strong opinion about the aestetic value of circumcision. I live with an “intactivist,” and frankly I don’t give a rat’s ass what it looks like as long as… well, you know.Moving on… if you think beef fondue is strange, I’d wager you wouldn’t like the book’s suggestiongs for seafood fondue.

  11. Interesting.  I’ve never seen an uncircumcised member, er, in the flesh; so I don’t have an opinion about the aesthetic or, um, hedonistic aspects.  Seems like the arguments in favor for health reasons are supported by this research.

  12. I have never heard that about HIV incidence being lower for circumcized men. 
    If you are polling – my answer is yes, I have been.  As for the “less sensitivity” part,

  13. I have to say without lising numbers here, all the men I have slept with were circumsized and they wern’t all good men. And they wern’t all responsible. And I would have to say none of those men were complaing about lack of feeling. To the contrary, That area is very sensitve. My son is glad he is curcumsized he has heard girls think uncircumsied ones are ugly. We did our with a moyal, he got wine, he was fine 3 min later.

  14. RYC – I believe that what you–and countless other non-religious peoplefeel is fatigue and annoyance.  But I don’t see you getting het up about your nickels either.  Like I said, I’m not even talking about non-religious people vs. religious people so much.  I don’t imagine the people who rubbed out “in god we trust” did so because they were non-religious and I don’t believe they did it out of extreme sensitivity toward the differently-religioned, either.  I think they thought, OMG what if someone sees this andtotallyfreaksout???  So instead they made like it didn’t exist, which is dishonest and offensive toward people of sound mind.  If you’re going to freak out over a nickel, or a replica of a nickel, then I do think you (impersonal you, as always) have an irrational fear that borders on a mental illness.  Non-believers should not be grateful when people infantilize them that way.  I wouldn’t feel justified writing some random religious creed on a yearbook cover just because James Madison believed in Jesus, but I would feel totally justified in printing a photograph of a nickel as it really is.

  15. Hear Hear Daylily02. I’d also hate to see “‘Circumcize your son or he’ll get AIDS’ hysteria”
    Whacking off the end of a baby’s penis is not acceptable just because the baby can’t object. I’m sure it’s still pretty painful, and I felt guilty about putting my son through the pain (especially when, years later, I discovered that… yes… not only is it more pleasurable for the man when the foreskin is intact, but it is also moreso for the woman).
    And any small amount of protection against aids that is gained is certainly offset by other, more obvious protections, such as using condoms or insisting on mutual STD tests before having unprotected sex. 

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