Circumcision not the key
published: Friday | May 4, 2007
The Editor, Sir:
the recommendation for male circumcision to prevent HIV is ill-advised, not only because circumcision increases HIV risk in women, but also because circumcision removes the langerhans cells of the foreskin that express langerin, a natural barrier to HIV. (Nature Medicine, March 4, 2007).
A study in the 'Annals of Epidemiology' (March 2007) found that circumcision is 'likely to spread' HIV. A preliminary Malawi study reveals that HIV incidence is highest where male circumcision is highest.
The NIH stopped the African studies early before long-term results could be obtained. In the Ugandan study, 98.15 per cent of the non-circumcised males did not acquire HIV, and 22 of the circumcised men did acquire HIV. Circumcision does not prevent HIV, but it could give circumcised men a false sense of security. Behaviour is the key component in preventing HIV, not circumcision!
The U.S. has circumcised millions of men over the past century and has one of the highest HIV rates in the developed world. This is in sharp contrast to European countries where male circumcision is rare and HIV rates are low.
Since the late 1800s, medical luminaries have promoted circumcision to prevent a variety of diseases - masturbation, epilepsy, spinal paralysis, curvature of the spine, clubfoot, rectal prolapse, malnutrition, cancer, eye problems, tuberculosis, and now HIV.
I am, etc.,
Director, Catholics Against
New York, USA