THE DRUG EPIDEMIC, VIRUSES, EBOLA, AND AIDS[IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK
‘Circumcision doesn’t reduce HIV spread’: Gregory Boyle and George Hill challenge Uganda’s Bogus Circumcision Crusade
US cannot continue funding treatment and care yet more and more Ugandans are getting infected: Oh! really
Circumcision does reduce HIV spread
By U.S. Ambassador Jerry P. Lanier
Yesterday's headline in the Daily Monitor, "Circumcision doesn't reduce HIV spread", was wrong - dangerously wrong. Safe male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection by 60% and does not lead to increased risk-taking behavior. It is an integral part of "combination prevention."
HIV prevention must remain an indispensable public health priority in Uganda, where an average of 340 people become infected every day. Through the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the United States is supporting the Uganda's efforts to scale up proven prevention interventions such as safe male circumcision.
Tuesday's newspaper article, based on the writings of anti-circumcision activists and unsound science, could severely damage public health. In the future I hope that the Daily Monitor will check its alleged "facts" with professionally trained Ugandan scientists and academics to ensure that reporting on health is accurate and fact-based.
Three large scientific trials carried out on 6,800 men in South Africa, Kenya, and here in Uganda showed that safe adult male circumcision reduced the risk of these men becoming infected with HIV by 50% to 60%. These studies were carried out by teams of reliable, professional scientists supported by American, French, and Canadian research grants. The Ugandan team included some of the most knowledgeable and respected HIV/AIDS researchers in the world. All three studies were thoroughly peer-reviewed by experts in the field before being published in major scientific journals.
Men from the Ugandan study, carried out in Rakai District, were studied and interviewed for an additional five years after the end of the main study. Also during that time, 80% of the men who were not circumcised in the first study elected to undergo
circumcision. The highly-protective effect of male circumcision for HIV prevention was sustained throughout this period. Of equal importance was the finding that these men did not use circumcision as a reason or excuse to take up riskier sexual behaviors. Contrary to popular belief, circumcised men did not take on more non-marital sexual partners, or use condoms less, than uncircumcised men.
In 2007, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS, government representatives (including Uganda's Ministry of Health), researchers, civil society, gender experts, and human rights and women's health advocates, recommended that "male circumcision should be recognized as an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention" and that it should be part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package since no single intervention is 100% effective.
In 2010, Uganda's Ministry of Health conducted a similar review of the evidence regarding safe male circumcision, endorsed the WHO/UNAIDS recommendations, and developed the Safe Male Circumcision Policy. The objective of this Policy is "to ensure that safe medical male circumcision, as part of a national comprehensive HIV prevention strategy, is available to all males."
The U.S. Government fully supports Uganda's safe male circumcision policy, recognizing that no single prevention method provides total protection. That is why we include safe male circumcision as only part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package in our programs. As long as men abstain from sex for six weeks after circumcision, as per WHO recommendations, the preventive effects of the procedure are realized. Male circumcision is also a gateway to a range of male reproductive health and HIV prevention services. The recommended prevention package includes HIV counseling and testing, treatment of sexually transmitted infections, promotion of safe sex practices, condoms and information and tips on how to use them correctly and consistently.