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Bono on the Daily Show re: circumcision?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
The nov 30 episode- did anyone see it? Bono was talking about the 4 steps to reducing/erradicating AIDS and he mentioned circumcision? I thought that myth was dispelled by now..
post #2 of 19

I saw it, and was so disappointed.  He listed it as the second thing important to reducing HIV/AIDS transmission. 

post #3 of 19

Given how serious and committed Bono is to the causes he espouses, could it possibly be that there is some truth to the assertion? I mean, it's not like he probably cares if anyone is circumcised or not - he has no dog in that fight - but if he's seen credible evidence that HIV transmission can be reduced... I also have no dog in this fight but I think some people here at MDC are SO wedded to the anti-circ movement that they can't even glance at anything that remotely challenges these dearly held beliefs...I think that, given Bono's assertion, it might warrant people revisiting the issue even if they choose no-circ for themselves and their children. 

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by elisheva View Post

Given how serious and committed Bono is to the causes he espouses, could it possibly be that there is some truth to the assertion? I mean, it's not like he probably cares if anyone is circumcised or not - he has no dog in that fight - but if he's seen credible evidence that HIV transmission can be reduced... I also have no dog in this fight but I think some people here at MDC are SO wedded to the anti-circ movement that they can't even glance at anything that remotely challenges these dearly held beliefs...I think that, given Bono's assertion, it might warrant people revisiting the issue even if they choose no-circ for themselves and their children. 



do your own research, elisheva. 

post #5 of 19

So tell me what Bono's motivation is, then. Are you saying he's lying? Uninformed? What?

 

I don't care. It makes no difference to my life. Would I like to see HIV eradicated or even tamed? Yep. If that means recommending circ to a certain segment of the world population, I'm ok with that. 

 

Ok, I caved. Here are some links:

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(07)60313-4/abstract?refuid=S0749-3797(09)00491-7&refissn=0749-3797

 

http://www.lancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(07)60312-2/abstract

 

http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0030262

 

Should I go on? I didn't find a single study on the first page that contradicted these results. 

 

And in layman's terms for good measure: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=circumcision-and-aids

 

"The bottom line: circumcision protects heterosexual men from HIV acquisition via sexual intercourse with the greatest benefits accruing in developing nations that are hardest hit by the epidemic."

 

I think this statement may be too strongly worded but in the studies I linked about, the HIV infection rate in uncirc'ed men was DOUBLE the rate of HIV infection the circ'ed men. A panacea? Nope. Saving lives? Yep.

 

Oh gosh, here's more: http://globalhealth.kff.org/Daily-Reports/2009/July/17/GH-071709-HIV-Circumcision.aspx

 

Ok, I concede. It doesn't help prevent HIV infection in women, only in their male partners. Therefore one could reason that is Man A has sex with Woman B (who happens to be HIV positive), his odds of contracting HIV are reduced if he is circ'ed. This means, he has a lower likelihood of contracting HIV and passing it on to Woman C. See? Almost win-win-win. 


Edited by elisheva - 12/3/11 at 10:39pm
post #6 of 19

I can't imagine revisiting a topic one had already researched, because a celebrity has come to a different conclusion. Lots of people think that circ is the answer to HIV (because they apparently overlook this large country called the United States of America). The fact that Bono is one of them doesn't mean he knows any more about it than anyone else.

post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

I can't imagine revisiting a topic one had already researched, because a celebrity has come to a different conclusion. Lots of people think that circ is the answer to HIV (because they apparently overlook this large country called the United States of America). The fact that Bono is one of them doesn't mean he knows any more about it than anyone else.



What does this mean? Circ'ed men still get HIV? Sure they do. But at a lower rate than uncirc'ed men. 

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
There are other factors at play here, in the Africa circ studies, such as religion. I have seen it suggested that the circ'd men are largely adult christian converts, many of whom practice abstinence as a result of their conversion, so that plays a huge part in the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and colors the data.
Also, there are more circ'd men in the US than in Europe, but there are also more cases of AIDS in the US than in Europe.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
If you're going to google to find the supporting documents, google Aids Circumcision Debunked, too.
here is just one:
http://www.drmomma.org/2008/01/international-aids-conference.html
"HIV prevalence was lower among circumcised than intact men only in Kenya (11.5% among intact men vs 3.1% among circumcised men). A small, statistically insignificant difference was also seen in Burkina Faso (2.9% vs 1.7%, respectively) and Uganda (5.5% vs 3.7%).

In each of the other countries, there was either no difference in HIV rates between circumcised and intact men, or circumcised men were more likely to be HIV-positive than intact men. For example, in Lesotho, HIV was seen in 23.4% of circumcised men compared with just 15.4% of intact men."
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elisheva View Post

So tell me what Bono's motivation is, then.

I think that circ seems like such a simple answer and they are really grasping at straws as a way to get this epidemic under some sort of control. So they latched on to circ as something that could be a cost effective and relatively easy to administer. I don't think Bono or anyone else is purposely misleading anyone into mutilating their genitals- I think he and others in his position really do believe in this. I don't believe in it- I think it would be lovely if it were true, and I would certainly support it if the numbers were convincing- but they are not.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by elisheva View Post



What does this mean? Circ'ed men still get HIV? Sure they do. But at a lower rate than uncirc'ed men. 



I've never seen any solid evidence of this. The African studies that are usually touted as proof of this were flawed in multiple ways. In any case, if circ'd men are going to think that being circ'd protects them, they're less likely to wear a condom, which is way better protection than anything else (except abstinence, obviously). 

 

If circing is so protective where HIV is concerned, why are HIV rates in the US so high? Your circ rate was very, very high for a very long time.

 

IMO, Bono is simply mistaken. The fact that he's passionate about HIV doesn't necessarily mean he's well informed, and this "circ prevents AIDS" stuff isn't exactly obscure, yk? I just can't see any reason why someone should rethink their views on circ and bodily autonomy (and most of MDC is opposed to RIC, not necessarily circ, in and of itself), because a celebrity activist says circ is the way to go. I don't even understand the thinking there. "Bono says circ is the way to go, so you should rethink your stance"...really? I don't make my decisions, or form my personal philosophy around what Bono says.

post #12 of 19
http://www.circumstitions.com/HIV-SA.html

http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org/DOC/pressrelease07-31-05.html

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/07/prweb267228.htm

And back to the rates of HIV infected...... Stormbride was right the United States has a high number of circ adult males and a lot of HIV+... Europe has all intact males and the Hiv transmission rate is much lower.
post #13 of 19

I was so disappointed when I heard Bono say that circumcision was effective in preventing HIV.  I was adamant about not circumcising my son as I though it is a barbaric, antiquated custom that has no health benefits. As it turns out however, the science says differently.  I was curious about why it reduces the rate of infection for men and it is because the type of skin on the foreskin is more susceptible to the HIV virus.  Here is the link:

 

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/circumcision.htm

 

 I think the comments about the socio-cultural reasons why circumcision might be linked to other cultural/religious practices are relevant and important to consider, but there are some biological factors at work here and we cannot dismiss them.  However, I worked in Africa, and even men who would vehemently state they were practicing abstinence would still turn up infected so I would definitely not count on abstinence as a realistic solution to the problem.  I also do not think circumcision alone is a realistic solution, but we do have to look at the evidence.  Because we do not live in a country where the epidemic is particularly bad, I am still not going to circumcise my son.  That is a privileged position that I feel like I can still make that decision and not put my son a a huge risk.  He will just have to be a sexually-responsible being, protect himself, get educated and get tested.  However, if circumcision is one thing that people who do live in high-risk areas can do, then we at least need to give them information so that they can make better-educated decisions.  Go Bono for trying to do just that. 

post #14 of 19

obvious question, but is Bono himself circumcised?

post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by btrfly2233 View Post

I was so disappointed when I heard Bono say that circumcision was effective in preventing HIV.  I was adamant about not circumcising my son as I though it is a barbaric, antiquated custom that has no health benefits. As it turns out however, the science says differently.  I was curious about why it reduces the rate of infection for men and it is because the type of skin on the foreskin is more susceptible to the HIV virus.  Here is the link:

 

http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/circumcision.htm

 

 


The flaws in the African trials have been talked about fairly extensively here, and I don't consider them to be valid. The fact that the CDC includes them in their "fact" sheet doesn't fill me with confidence. All but one of the physical explanations cited include the word "may" (ie. "we have no idea if there's any truth to this at all"). That leaves basically one large study (more of a meta-analysis), with no information about how any of the studies were conduted. This is very far from being compelling evidence.

 

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

obvious question, but is Bono himself circumcised?

The wiki says he's born in Ireland.. so he was probably intact as a young man.... but that doesn't mean he didn't get himself cut as an adult.
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicana View Post

obvious question, but is Bono himself circumcised?

this website says he is intact, but I have NO idea where they get their data!
http://www.circumstitions.com/Famous5.html

Incidentally, when you google "Is Bono Circumcized" this thread is the second link!
post #18 of 19

Bono is most likely uncircumcised as he is Irish. The Irish have never practiced RIC and it would be extremely rare for an adult Irishman to have himself cut for no good reason.

 

As for Bono's views on circumcision in Africa, they are irrelevant. Since when do we get our truth and facts from celebrities? Obviously Bono is interested in helping Africa in any way he can, but that doesn't make him well-educated on the subject of circumcision. He has really just become a political figure of philanthropy operating within the system, but the system is part of the problem.

 

The whole Africa HIV/AIDS question is very murky and it seems that Africa has been exploited by the west (particularly the USA) in almost every way possible. The HIV tests performed in Africa are very primitive, and the AIDS definition in Africa is different to other countries (in fact there is no standard definition of AIDS). Are people in Africa dying of AIDS or are they just dying of the hundreds of diseases now lumped into the African AIDS definition? (TB, cholera, malaria, dysentery, etc.)

 

The real problem in Africa is poverty-always has been. They live in squalor with hardly any sanitation or nutrition. Try using the same water you defecate into to drink from and see how long you last. One of the scientists who discovered HIV, Luc Montangier, has since said that we can be exposed to the virus multiple times without becoming chronically infected. What leads to chronic infection? Oxidative stress. And if you give the body the nutrients it needs, and give people clean water and basic hygiene, what does Montagnier predict would happen to chronically infected people? Their bodies would rid themselves of the virus. This statement can be seen in an interview Montagnier gave for the AIDS documentary entitled House Of Numbers, which is on youtube.

 

This perspective notwithstanding, the HIV circumcision trials in Africa have been widely debunked and severely criticised for their flawed methodology which was almost entirely unscientific. Almost all the doctors involved with these trials had no prior interest in HIV but had prior histories in advocating for circumcision. There is even evidence that the team involved went into Africa not to determine IF circumcision might reduce HIV transmission (a strange enough agenda in itself), but to determine THAT circumcision reduces HIV transmission.

 

All available evidence suggests that circumcision has no significant effect on HIV transmission. All we need do is look at the highly circumcised USA, which also has the highest HIV rates in the developed world, to see this is the case. Moreover, we need only look at the history of circumcision as a cure in search of a disease, to see that in every decade since its inception in the USA it has been touted to cure or prevent a new malady. HIV is just the latest claim in a long list.

 

But let assume that it's all true and circumcision really were a "surgical vaccine". (Not that the studies in support of circumcision reducing HIV transmission come anywhere near the efficacy purported by successful vaccines) How about we let the adult decide for himself whether or not he wants this "vaccine"? It is after all his body and his penis. And just how feasible is it that we are going to march into Africa and circumcise millions of males? We can't even get these people clean water or food or basic medicine. We can't deliver 50 cents worth of tetracycline to prevent blindness. How are we going to do expensive surgery in a sterile environment with sterile tools on millions of people? It just doesn't make sense, and I think you'll find it's never going to happen.

post #19 of 19

fun. 

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