WHO is pro-circ? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-07-2011, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I just had some friends have a boy. They knew my views but the argument that "no major organization in the world recommends this" fell flat because they said the WHO now advises circ. Sigh. Really?

Just for the record.. I'm an "old" MDC mom and my son is intact.

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#2 of 7 Old 07-07-2011, 09:47 AM
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So I'm guessing your friends went ahead & circed their boy???


If WHO is pro-circ now, I'm guessing it's because of the Africa/HIV studies (although the way I understand the studies, they are flawed).


On a side note, I just got off the phone with a dear friend who didn't circumcise her son years ago (before I knew her). She called to tell me she is newly pregnant! Yay!!! I'm hoping they have another boy.

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#3 of 7 Old 07-07-2011, 11:32 AM
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WHO is not "pro-circ", although their position has been characterized as such in certain media and by many people who post comments to news articles and blogs.


WHO's position is that the 3 large African RCTs (randomized control trials) have validity, and it calls male circumcision a worthwhile intervention to prevent HIV transmission from women to men (they can't say from men to women, because the only significant trial that looked at that found that women were 54% more likely to contract HIV from her partner after he has been circumcised).


The recommendations are in place for adult males in areas of sub-Saharan Africa that have been ravaged by AIDS. WHO has not called for universal circumcision of newborns in Africa, and most definitely not in the developed countries of the world.

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#4 of 7 Old 07-07-2011, 11:52 AM
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That is annoying.

I found this page on the WHO website, but I cant seem to open the PDF's. If someone else would take a look, I think the files titled "Priority Intervention" and "Male Circumcision" will probably tell us their stance.


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#5 of 7 Old 07-07-2011, 11:54 AM
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The WHO recommendations advise an uptake in circumcision programs for countries that have low condom usage and high HIV rates.  This recommendation, which was published several years ago, was aimed only at adults who practice high risk sexual behavior in sub-Saharan Africa.  I am sure someone here will post the exact wording of the WHO statement, but you can also google it.  I personally don't think this is a wise use of health resources nor does it make good public policy (this was purely a politically motivated decision on part of the WHO).  However, the merits of these recommendations aside, this has nothing to do with kids raised in the USA in 2011.  In short, the WHO does not recommend infant circumcision, not even in sub-Saharan Africa let alone for US infants, who are born and live in a totally different environment.  The primary mode of HIV transmission in the USA is male to male, which circumcision does not protect against.  In Africa, some studies suggest that circumcision offers a degree of efficacy in female to male HIV transmission, which is one of the main vectors of how HIV is spread in that part of the world.  This makes up the scientific basis for the WHO statement, but the studies in question here are highly problematic, and as I said, the statement itself has a lot to do with the politics of AIDS in Africa.  That notwithstanding, the statement that no national or international organization advises circumcision for infants remains correct.  To back up this point, you might want to mention next time that several medical organizations (e.g.: Dutch, Australian) have updated their circumcision statements since the WHO recommendations came out, and surprise, surprise, none of them recommend infant circumcision.  In fact, the Dutch medical organization strongly advises against it. 

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#6 of 7 Old 07-07-2011, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, of course they are already doing it. And had the nerve to tell me they choose the plastibell method because " there's less chance of disfigurement".

Big sigh.
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#7 of 7 Old 07-09-2011, 09:13 PM
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The thing that angers me about these "Africa studies" are that most scientists know that the bigger the sample size, the more accurate the results are.  For example, if I survey two people on their opinions on a political leader, that may not be indicative of everyone.  However, if I survey 2,000 people on that same person, I'll probably get a better idea how that leader is doing.


So, with all that said, why doesn't the WHO survey the relationship of penile cancer or HIV among more men than just those in Africa?  What about HIV in Swedish or English men? What about Latino men?

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