Good news from Africa - congratulations to the World Bank(Disclaimer: I am male, 50s, born in UK, author of blog stopcircumcision.blogspot.com. This is a copy of my most recent blog post)
The World Bank has often been criticised for funding large-scale projects (such as hydropower schemes) which do not necessarily benefit the host community. However, for a recent project, whose report has just been published on their web site, the World Bank should be congratulated. Not a single reference to the word "circumcision" appears in it! The project, the Africa Multi-Country AIDS Program 2000-2006 (MAP), concentrated on tried-and-tested methods, such as prevention of mother-to-child transmission, voluntary counselling and testing, distribution of male and female condoms, provision of information and education about AIDS to the population, provision of antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, supporting vulnerable children, and supporting income-generating activities, for example, as alternatives to sex work.
The program certainly appears to have led to successful outcomes. The percentage of persons of age 15-49 with AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa has stopped increasing. In most countries surveyed. the number of people with a comprehensive knowledge about HIV has increased, as has the rate of condom use and the percentage of HIV-infected people on ARV therapy. For example, in Benin, the fraction of young women who reported using a condom in last sex with a nonregular partner increased from under 20 per cent in 2003 to over 50 per cent in 2005, and in Uganda, the percentage of people with advanced HIV infection who are being treated with antiretroviral drugs increased from 7 per cent in 2003 to over 55 per cent in 2005.
There is thus every reason to suppose that education, treatment, and poverty support measures will decrease AIDS incidence in all African countries. The encouragement of male genital mutilation in such countries as Swaziland, with its small population, and Botswana, with a democratic government and relatively well-educated populace, is therefore absolutely scandalous as well as being totally unnecessary. I congratulate the following Africans for standing up to the American-inspired mutilation bandwagon:
* President Museveni, Uganda
* Dr. Joseph Matare, Namibia
* The Luo Council of Elders, Kenya
* Alex Myers and Jonny Myers, South Africa
The WHO/UNAIDS support for male circumcision is setting the stage for a tragedy similar to the case of South Korea. Before the Korean War, circumcision was unheard of, but it appears to have been introduced under American military influence, and is now inflicted on about 90 per cent of boys.
For the sake of all of the world's male population, I therefore implore WHO/UNAIDS to change their stupid policy!