Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Feast of the Circumcision

Happy New Year!

This new year -- 2010 -- promises to be one of the best ever for advocates of a foreskin-free world. The medical evidence continues to grow on the health benefits conferred by circumcision, and 2010 will bring even more studies by reputable scientists and world health organizations to validate the life-long advantages of early circumcision.

Led by strong government policies in many countries, some nations especially in Africa will move closer to the goal of 100% circumcision, thereby reducing the threat of HIV, STDs, HPV, cancer, and all sorts of other deadly ailments. In the USA, we expect the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to resist the hyperbolic pressure of the anti-circumcision fanatics by embracing a clear health-based call for the circumcision of all male newborns. Of course, they will insist that it's "voluntary" but the message will be clear: circumcision confers clear health benefits for the male, his sexual partners, and society as a whole.

The year 2010 will also see an uptick in the number of American males who are circumcised. The message has gotten through to parents via a generally positive US media that most anti-circs are shrill, beligerant, penis obsessed nuts who want to deny parents the right to care for their children in the most medically responsible way. Moreover, the average American knows that it's better to be circumcised than not.

Finally, for centuries the Christian church celebrated January 1st as the Feast of the Circumcision, the day Jesus was circumcised in accordance with the traditions of the time. The "good news" today is that, all over the world, circumcision has become the tradition of the 21st century. Whether a church embraces the date or not, we should bring back the Feast of the Circumcision on New Years Day, a way to honor the scientists, the doctors, and the parents who have made circumcision as popular as it is. May 2010 be the year that circumcision is embraced by all. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Alleluia! Jesus Was Circumcised! Alleluia!

Merry Christmas! And Happy Hannukah, too! As Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem this Christmas, it's also great to recall that He, too, was circumcised at birth. That was in accord with Jewish practice at the time, but it is also a reminder that there is something "holy" about circumcision for practicing and believing Christians. To be Christ-like in mind, body, and soul -- for many Christians -- means following the example of Jesus with this simple ritual.

Now regular readers of this blog know that I stress the medical and health advantages of universal newborn circumcision, but there is nothing wrong when other traditions, values, and customs lead you to the health-saving grace of circumcision. For many Christians, being circumcised is another way to be at one with Christ. After all, if the little baby Jesus could be a perfect God-in-man on earth without His foreskin, then so can our sons.

Merry Christmas, readers. Alleluia! Jesus Was Circumcised! Alleluia!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2009 Turning Point: Momentum to Circumcise Grows Worldwide

As the year 2009 draws to a close, history may judge this year as the "turning point" in the movement to achieve universal circumcision -- a world in which the foreskin no longer poses a health threat to a male, his partners, or society as a whole.

Aided by one medical study after another this year, more governments than ever have embraced the goal of 100% male circumcision, knowing that this simple health procedure can reduce the risk of HIV by 60% and dramatically curb the spread of STDs, HPVs, cancers, and other ailments that afflict society.

When the data is finally collected for the year 2009, it will show that more males world-wide are circumcised now than ever before in world history. To be circumcised is not only the "norm" in the USA, it has become the desired norm across the world simply because "the cut" is healthy.

Even in those countries where governments have been reluctant to embrace circumcision (i.e., many European countries), the populace as a whole is joining the circumcision movement. Men are opting for the cut, and parents are wisely choosing to circumcise their sons at birth, knowing this is the safest, most reliable, and inexpensive way to protect their boy for life.

We have also seen a growing appreciation of the value of circumcision in Asia and the Indian subcontinent. I would bet, once the data is in, that more Japanese, more Indians, more Chinese are circumcised than ever before -- joining their counterparts in Korea, Philippines, and Indonesia who are already clean-cut. The best news on that front this year have been reports that Chinese health officials may encourage universal circumcision in the near future. The world's largest country could set a powerful example if it would promote newborn circumcision as an important health measure.

The year 2009 also saw the growing hysteria of the anti-circumcision fanatics, as they try to pressure governments to ignore the medical science and to scare parents against this life-preserving procedure. In my view, the fanaticism of these groups only marginalizes them among the mainstream. That is certainly true in the USA where, despite millions of anti-circ dollars spent on lies and mischaracterizations, I have no doubt that more baby boys were circumcised this year than last year.

Just ask the normal person on the street here in the Midwest about circumcision and the answer is always the same. "Of course. It's the healthy thing to do." -- a statement usually coupled with "Yeah, it prevents AIDs." The latter is not quite accurate -- it reduces the risk of AIDs -- but the public is getting the basic message.

Even those who may be confused on the issue because of anti-circ propaganda usually return to the basics. "It's cleaner. It's easier." -- with the variation "If it was so bad, why does everyone do it?" They do it because, deep down, nobody really wants a filthy foreskin that can cause so much medical havoc.

If 2009 becomes the turning point in the medical goal of achieving universal circumcision, there is still one disappointment which can be remedied in the remaining weeks of this year. Where is the American Academy of Pediatrics? Where is the CDC, Centers for Disease Control? We began the year with hope that -- based on medical science alone -- the AAP and CDC would declare that every male should be circumcised. While insiders say they want to do this because they know it is medically right, pressure from the anti-circs have delayed action. Nothing would complete 2009 more as the "Year of Circumcision" than a strong backbone at the AAP and CDC and a year-end statement encouraging ("voluntarily") the circumcision of males!

So what do you think? Do you agree that, in general, this has been a terrific year for circumcision? I welcome your thoughts.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Are Uncircumcised Fathers Most Likely to Circumcise -- or Not?

Here's a question worth pondering. Are uncircumcised fathers more likely to circumcise their sons than circumcised fathers are to leave their sons uncircumcised?

My gut says that, as the medical evidence grows on the health value of circumcision, more and more uncircumcised dads are saying, hey, I want what's best for my son -- and that means a healthy, clean-cut penis from the start of life.

Is there any empirical evidence for this supposition?

I have blogged earlier that there is nothing more admirable -- and no one more deserving the title of FATHER -- than an uncircumcised dad who gives his newborn the gift of circumcision. There is a special place in Heaven for these men who recognize that just because they have a foreskin is no reason for their sons to be so afflicted, especially when the chances are much greater in the 21st century that a foreskin will increase a male's chance of HIV, STD, HPV, and other diseases.

Are there circumcised men who leave their sons with a foreskin prone to disease? Of course, there must be some who are taken in by the anti-circ propaganda and a few who have developed a psychological problem over being clean-cut. But, once again, my gut says that most circumcised dads want their sons to enjoy the healthy penises that they have -- to say nothing of the aesthetic and social reasons to circumcise.

In my view, circumcising your son to "look like" you is no more valid than leaving your son uncircumcised to "look like" you. The best reason for all fathers, regardless of their own circumcision status, to circumcise their sons is that it is in the child's best health interests. That's all you need to do the right thing!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Circumcision -- A Reason to Give Thanks on Thanksgiving

On this Thanksgiving Day in America -- I know Canada celebrates it earlier and I don't know about other countries -- I am grateful for circumcision, a very minor procedure that has a major impact on the health of so many.

I am thankful I live in a country where the right of every parent to circumcise is both maintained and encouraged. It is true that a very very small minority of fanatics is trying to take that right away, but freedom to raise your children in a healthy way is inherent in American values. As long as parents are guaranteed those rights, circumcision will be as American as the pumpkin pie we eat today. Every baby boy has the right to be circumcised, clean-cut, and disease-free, and I give thanks that America will always be a circumcised country.

I am thankful for all the US doctors who work hard to produce the scientific studies that support universal circumcision. I am thankful for the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics for resisting the absurd claims of foreskin lovers. I hope both the CDC and AAP can resist political pressure from these few and declare, once and for all, that every male should be circumcised.

I am thankful for all of you -- whether pro or anti-circ -- for engaging in this debate in a positive manner. I hope this blog has been a positive contribution to the ongoing debate. As long as you enjoy it and use it, I'll keep posting.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Africans Show America How to Implement Universal Circumcision

While the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics, to say nothing of the U.S. government, dithers over whether to do the obvious -- embrace universal circumcision of all males -- African nations are showing western nations exactly the way to do it.

The latest news comes out of Kenya, which hopes to achieve 100% foreskin-free country by 2013. Under a news article just issued by IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Kenyan government is doing exactly what the United States government ought to do.

The article is headlined: "The Million Man Cut." And that, of course, expresses the goal -- to circumcise one million uncircumcised males by 2013. According to this article, the circumcision rate in Kenya is good -- around 85%. But it's not high enough to provide the societal protection that circumcision gives. At least 1.2 million foreskins are still amongst them, foreskins that serve as portals for HIV, STDs, HPV, herpes, and other preventable diseases.

Here are excerpts from the news article. Don't you think it's time for the USA to learn the lesson from Africa?

"KISUMU, 17 November 2009 (PlusNews) - The Kenyan government is expanding services to meet the growing demand for voluntary medical male circumcision after the launch of a national campaign a year ago.

"We believe the launch of a rapid results initiative to scale up what we are already offering will help meet the demand; our target is an ambitious one to see to it that at least 1.1 million of the uncircumcised men in this country get the cut by the end of five years," said Jackson Kioko, director of medical services in western Nyanza Province.

Results of three random trials in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda in 2005 and 2006 demonstrated that medical male circumcision reduced the risk of HIV infection among men by up to 60 percent. According to the Kenya AIDS Indicator Survey 2007, 85 percent of Kenyan men are circumcised; HIV prevalence is higher by three-to-five times in uncircumcised men.

There are about 1.2 million uncircumcised men between the ages of 15 and 49 in Kenya, most of whom live in Nyanza Province, where fewer than 50 percent of men are circumcised. Since the launch of the national campaign in November 2008, an estimated 40,000 men have been circumcised and 124 sites opened and equipped with facilities and personnel to offer the service. The government has trained 700 health workers in the province to offer the services in various health facilities. "The trained health workers will ensure people who demand these services get them in a safe and timely manner and the training of others is ongoing across the various provinces within the country," Kioko added.

The government also plans to roll out mobile medical circumcision. "We do not want people to opt out simply because the services are not near them and we are making arrangements that we go to them rather than them coming to us," Kioko said. "We will, in the near future, offer infant medical circumcision; this has the potential to help people in time before their sexual debut."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Study: Circumcision Reduces Herpes & HPV in Males

How long must we wait for the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics to take account of the growing body of medical evidence that points in only one direction -- every boy should be circumcised to protect himself, his partners, and society as a whole.

This week, still another study in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms that male circumcision reduces a male's chance of getting genital herpes and HPV.

After years of such evidence, it's amazing that the CDC and AAP feel so threatened by a small group of anti-circumcision fanatics that they appear to be back-pedaling on doing what is medically right. I will never understand why the foreskin fetishists go to such extremes, but eventually even the docs at the CDC and AAP will yield to medical science and declare what most of us know is true: circumcision is good for every boy!

For more evidence of that, read the full Reuters story, as reported in the Vancouver Times Colonist:

Circumcision protects men from genital herpes and a virus that causes genital warts and cancer but it does not appear to guard against syphilis, U.S. and Ugandan researchers said on Wednesday.

The report in the New England Journal of Medicine adds to the debate over whether men — and newborn boys — should be circumcised to protect their health and perhaps the health of their future sexual partners.

The findings from two trials in Uganda build on related research showing that circumcision cuts a man's risk of HIV infection through heterosexual intercourse by more than 50 per cent, said Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health in the United States, which funded the study.

They also come at a time when circumcision rates are declining in places like the United States even as evidence mounts that the practice can provide important health benefits.

"Medically supervised adult male circumcision is a scientifically proven method for reducing a man's risk of acquiring HIV infection through heterosexual intercourse," he said.

"This new research provides compelling evidence that circumcision can provide some protection against genital herpes and human papillomavirus infections as well."

The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world. It causes cervical cancer, which kills 300,000 women globally every year.

The team, which also included researchers from Johns Hopkins University in the United States and Makerere University in Uganda, conducted two parallel clinical trials to analyse the impact of male circumcision as a public health tool.

The combined results of the studies looking at more than 3,000 men showed circumcision reduced the risk of herpes by 25 per cent and of HPV by one third. HPV also causes anal and penile cancers.

Circumcision also appeared to reduce the odds of genital warts but had no effect on the incidence of syphilis, the researchers added.

The study highlights the potential of using circumcision to protect people most at risk of the infections in the developing world, especially Africa, where HIV and HPV are widespread.

"Efforts to scale-up male circumcision could have tremendous benefit," said David Serwadda of Makerere University in Uganda, who worked on the study.

Since 2007, circumcision has been promoted by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS as a way to reduce the risk of AIDS in areas where heterosexual transmission is high.

When done in children, the operation reduces the chance of urinary tract infections and phimosis, a problem with the foreskin.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Greater the Foreskin, the Higher the HIV Risk

This study did not get quite the play in the media that other health-related circumcision studies have attracted, but it deserves mention on this blog. Still another African study has found that the more foreskin an individual has, the greater his risk of getting HIV.

Perhaps the media didn't report this widely because it's so obvious. The foreskin is a "portal of entry" for deadly diseases, so obviously the more foreskin you have the more portals and the greater the risk. Pretty simple.

As reported in "AIDS Map," here's the gist of the study: "Larger foreskin size is associated with an increased risk of becoming infected with HIV, investigators from the Rakai circumcision study report in the October edition of AIDS. “Larger foreskin size is a risk factor for HIV acquisition in uncircumcised men,” comment the investigators."

"Investigators from the Rakai circumcision study hypothesised that the size of an individual's foreskin may be associated with an increased risk of HIV infection, due to the larger surface area containing cells vulnerable to HIV infection. They therefore analysed men in the clinical trial who had previously taken part in a cohort study to see if they could find an association between the size of the foreskin measured at the time of circumcision and the risk of HIV acquisition in uncircumcised men prior to the removal of their foreskin. They conducted the retrospective analysis in men who had initially been recruited to the Rakai community cohort study, tested for HIV at baseline and followed for a median of four years prior to enrolling in the clinical trial and undergoing medical circumcision. A total of 965 men were included in the study."

"There were 48 new HIV infections. The median foreskin area was larger in those who became infected with HIV compared with those who did not (41.5 vs 35 cm2). Furthermore, the mean foreskin area was significantly higher among those who seroconverted than those who did not (43.3 vs 36.8 cm2). . . . HIV incidence was lowest amongst men with foreskin surface areas in the lowest quartile (0.8 per 100 person years), and incidence increased with foreskin surface area, being 2.48 per 100 person years amongst individuals in the upper quartile (p < 0.01 for the trend). After adjustment for possible confounding factors, the investigators found that individuals with a foreskin area above 45.6 cm2 had a significantly increased risk of becoming infected with HIV compared to men with the smallest foreskin surface area."

The obvious thing about this study is that it confirms that the presence of ANY foreskin carries a risk, but the risk increases as the foreskin grows larger. To me, it suggests that the removal of all foreskin as quickly as possible after birth is most desirable. Why should anyone run the risk of growing a large foreskin later in life? Most importantly, it once again links the foreskin to HIV risk, clarifying that the more you have of a bad thing the greater your chances of getting hurt.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Anti Circumcision Radicals to Protest AAP Docs

You want to know why so many people dismiss the ravings of the anti circumcision fanatics? Just read their latest press release, announcing their intent to demonstrate at this weekend's conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Intactivists will be protesting what they believe to be an unethical and sexist practice—infant circumcision—at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition (AAP NCE, 2009), Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC, October 17-20. . . . Intactivist Dan Strandjord, Chicago, says, “Cutting off the end of a boy’s penis is not what a medical “hero” should do. It is a "villainous" practice, there is no medical reason for it. . . . Demonstrators will be carrying placards satirizing the conference’s cartoon characters of pediatricians as flying super-heroes. It depicts a super-hero protecting a baby boy with the comment: “Real heroes don’t cut babies.” Girls are protected from genital cutting, even a pinprick, by federal law, but boys have no protection. Circumcision is a multi-million dollar income stream for doctors, a source of revenue that is almost doubled in order to repair poorly performed circumcisions."

Well, it will be interesting to see what kind of national news coverage these antics get. The media generally ignores the couple dozen nutcases who show up for their annual penis walk on the U.S. Capitol.

It's pretty much a waste of time to rebut all the lies in this typical anti-circ press release. Circumcision is hardly "villainous" because there are so many medical reasons to do it. And the typical foreskin lover tactic of equating female genital mutilation with male circumcision is getting rather boring. As for docs making money off circs, at $50 or $100 a clip, it's not exactly a money winner.

So let the fanatics march on. It only makes their "cause" seem sillier and sillier.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why Are Anti-Circumcision People so Fanatic?

I admit there's a whole lot more to my life than circumcision -- which explains why I don't post something on my blog every day. But I have been increasingly struck by how -- for the anti-circumcision crowd -- the only thing in life that's important to them is "Saving the Foreskin."

Why is that so? What drives the foreskin lovers into such rage that they surf the internet to post mind-numbing repetitive comments on every reference to circumcision? Have you noticed that, too? What is their deep-set psychological problem that life for them begins and ends with the foreskin?

I was reminded about that when I noticed that almost all the "blogs" called up by Google when you type in "circumcision" are authored by anti-circs. This blog is one of the few mainstream blogs out there that espouse normal American behavior, the circumcision of male newborns. It got me wondering if I was really all alone out there -- or whether the anti-circs are just so angry that everyone of them needs to hyperventilate on the internet.

For most Americans at least, circumcision is hardly ever thought of. When our sons are born, we circumcise them for all the right reasons, then move on. It's a topic that never really comes up again. At some point -- for me it was health class in school -- we learn that we were circumcised, told it was the healthy thing to do (that's what my health teacher said), and then again move on. The next time it comes up is when we have a son and, once again, we do the right thing and have the kid circumcised just like us. That pretty much ends the circumcision discussion in the average American household!

But for the anti-circ fanatics, every day begins and ends with the foreskin. I don't know how they carry on a normal life being so obsessed with this useless piece of skin. But guess is that the whackiness of it all comes through to the vast majority of Americans -- which is why we so easily dismiss them when they march on the Capitol, demand "genital integrity," and deride our medical institutions when they seek to follow the medical evidence towards universal circumcision.

I'll leave it to commenters to deduce the psychological hang-ups of the anti-circumcision crowd. Those of us who favor a clean foreskin-free society don't need to get rabid about it. We'll just go about our daily business, knowing that sound science is our side.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tattoos and Circumcision

An Associated Press story the other day caught my eye, and I thought I would share it with you for your comments because the defense attorney raised the issue of circumcision.

Turns out that Enrique Gonzalez from Fresno, California, wanted his 7-year old son to have a small paw print tattoo on his hip. The dad has a lot of those tatts cuz it's like a tattoo for a gang called the Bulldogs. The boy, too, wanted the tattoo to be like his dad, although a 7-year in most states is not considered old enough under the law to know what he wants. Still, in many states, it's perfectly legal for parents to have their kids tattooed, but in California apparently nobody under 18 is allowed to get a tatt.

Anyways, Enrique and his buddies either didn't know the law or didn't care because they went ahead and put a small, quarter size paw tatt on this kid. Now Fresno is throwing the book at Enrique saying he has maimed (bodily mayhem) and disfigured his son against the law, charging him with crimes that could jail him for life.

The judge is not so sure. Here's part of the AP story:

"But testimony at the preliminary hearing this week to establish which charges the evidence supports gave pause to Fresno County Superior Court Judge Hillary Chittick.

"A defense attorney, seeking to undermine the potential mayhem charge, raised the issue of a painful, irreversible, and increasingly controversial medical procedure with the boy's pediatrician, a witness for the prosecution.

"Which is more painful, circumcision or a tattoo?" asked public defender Manuel Nieto about the practice performed on a decreasing number of newborn boys.

"I would guess the circumcision," Dr. Carmela Sosa responded. . . .

"It seems to the court," Judge Chittick said as she asked Monday for a few days to think, "that mayhem requires a certain level of bodily injury, and I'm not sure a quarter-sized tattoo meets that."

What I find interesting about this story is the smart defense attorney's linking of circumcision with the tattoo. Now first off, I have no problems with tatts on little kids if small and not in an inappropriate place (like a face). Nowadays, most kids get 'em in college anyways. But tattoos are different from removing the filthy foreskin from a kid. While both tatts and circs "beautify" part of the body, readers of this blog know that my big push for universal circumcision is the health benefits it confers. I don't think tattoos have a health benefit!

The anti-circumcision fanatics want everyone to believe that circumcising a kid is mutilation and a crime. They even have lawyers who go around trying to sue doctors and parents on behalf of circumcised kids. Fortunately, these cases are losers. Why? Because not only is the kid not harmed by circumcision, there is sound medical evidence that it protects the male from HIV, STDs, HPV, cancer, etc. And, so far, no court has denied a parent the right to do what is in the best medical interest of the child -- circumcise him!

The Gonzalez lawyer knows this, so he is cleverly linking tattoos with circumcision. Will it work? I don't know. Let's hear what you think!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Operation Abraham Coming to USA

Three cheers for Dr. Inon Schenker! A couple weeks ago, Ha'aretz News, an Israeli paper, published a story about Dr. Schenker and something called Operation Abraham. The good doctor was at the recent CDC meeting in Atlanta and proposed bringing his Operation Abraham to America. As described in the newspaper, "Operation Abraham [is] a group of Israeli doctors who gained expertise in circumcision by performing the procedure thousands of times, quickly and safely, on Russian-Jewish men who were raised outside Jewish tradition and immigrated to Israel in the 1990s. "

Knowing that America has a growing foreskin problem, not only because too many boys are left uncircumcised, but also because our fast growing immigrant population is largely foreskin afflicted, Dr. Schenker suggests: "Why not bring mass adult male circumcision to the Hispanic and African-American communities of America?" Indeed, to all Americans, I would add, because we have many whites and asians here who still are at risk to themselves and their partners because of their uncircumcised status.

Operation Abraham is not something new and novel. The altruistic doctor and his team have already perfected it in African countries. Here's what Ha'aretz reported: "The resulting abstract, which Dr. Schenker presented in Atlanta, proposes to help train American doctors in much the same way as was effective in Swaziland: by working side by side and showing them how to circumcise efficiently. The innovation creates what Schenker called an "assembly line" technique, working in a team, using only local anesthesia and perfecting a "clamp" method of foreskin removal that uses forceps. The Israeli doctors boast that they are able to perform 30 or 40 circumcisions a day."

The link between HIV, STDs, HPV, cancer, and all sorts of other pernicious diseases and the foreskin is now conclusive. Operation Abraham is a humanitarian effort to save the lives of millions of uncircumcised Americans who, through no fault of their own, were not circumcised at birth like most Americans.

So far, the U.S. government has not embraced Dr. Schenker's proposal. They should do so immediately. After all, U.S. taxpayers spend millions to circumcise Africans. Why not spend a little of that money on our own people? Readers of my blog know that I think it is hypocritical for us to circumcise the rest of the world and ignore our own. Dr. Schenker is offering a great public service.

The Ha'aretz article notes that some of the anti-circumcision foreskin lovers are trying to portray the Israeli docs as some sort of proselytizers for Judaism. That strikes me as anti-semitic. No, these docs are not mohels. No, they are not looking for Jewish converts. But, yes, they want to help restore America to its clean-cut status of the 1960s & 1970s. After all the money and support America has given Israel over the decades, I can't think of a better way for Israel to return the favor than to let its docs eliminate the foreskin from our continent.

Obviously, the expected recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics that all newborn boys be circumcised will help in the future, but Operation Abraham could be just what the doctor ordered for American males who were not so fortunate at birth. Dr. Schenker, we need you and want you!

Friday, September 11, 2009

UN Reaffirms Value of Universal Circumcision

Maybe, just maybe, we are beginning to see government agencies (outside of Africa) embrace the goal of universal circumcision, a society where the foreskin can no longer pose a threat to a male and his partners. Experts from the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, and the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modeling applied mathematical modeling to a number of studies showing the benefits of circumcision.

Here are some of their conclusions:

* "Using a 10-y time horizon, one new HIV infection would be averted for every five to 15 men newly circumcised. For the most successful interventions, where almost all men are circumcised, HIV incidence could be reduced by ~30%–50% over the same period."

* "Women, even if not directly protected, would benefit indirectly from the introduction or expansion of male circumcision services because their probability of encountering an HIV-infected male sexual partner gradually declines with programme scale-up."

* "Circumcising men who have not started sexual activity leads to the greatest population-level benefit in the long term. . . . Of course, circumcising both adult males and neonates would maximise the short- and long-term impact of circumcision on HIV incidence."

* "The estimated costs per adult male circumcision are between $30 and $60 depending on the programme setting, with neonatal circumcision costing about one-third this amount. . . . By comparison, estimates of discounted lifetime treatment costs typically exceed $7,000 per HIV infection if only first-line treatment is provided, and twice as much if second-line treatment is available."

Put simply, universal circumcision at birth provides the best health protection at the lowest cost. Circumcising before sexual activity is best, and one HIV case can be prevented for every five males circumcised. Isn't that worth it?

Now let's hope our friends at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are able to read this report through the fog of crap being tossed up by the anti-circ fanatics.

Monday, September 7, 2009

1954 Time Magazine Article Promotes Universal Circumcision

Sometimes the old ways of doing things make the most sense, even if the reasons for doing them advance with medical science. That's what came to mind as I read this 1954 article in an April 5 issue of Time Magazine. Entitled "Medicine: Circumcision & Cancer," the weekly news magazine, which I'm told (before my time) influenced a few generations of American parents, reinforced the growing belief among the parents of Babyboomers in the USA that a clean-cut penis was the only penis to have.

I'm going to reprint the article with my comments in bold italics. Enjoy.

Medicine: Circumcision & Cancer
TIME: April 5, 1954

"The fact that 85% of the boy babies born in U.S. private hospitals nowadays are circumcised, regardless of the parents' religious beliefs, may be an important factor in reducing cancer of the uterine cervix (neck of the womb) in years to come. Dr. Ernest L. Wynder. of Manhattan's Memorial Center for Cancer and Allied Diseases, has reached this comforting conclusion after studying the striking differences in the incidence of cervical cancer among women with different marital histories."

So by 1954, 85% of American boys were clean cut. That number probably grew to 95% ten years later. America had become, even 55 years ago, a circumcised nation. And reinforcing a mother's view that her son should be clean-cut is this report that a male's circumcision reduces cervical cancer in a woman.

"It all began with the oft-quoted observation that among Jewish women whose husbands have been routinely, ritually circumcised, cervical cancer is only one-tenth to one-fifth as common as among non-Jewish women of similar age and social status. Was this coincidence or what? To find out, Dr. Wynder arranged exhaustive interviews of 1,900 women in twelve U.S. hospitals scattered over four states; one-third of them had cervical cancer, while the rest (the controls) had other diseases of the pelvis."

"The answers ruled out the possibility of coincidence. They also ruled out pregnancy and number of pregnancies, abortions, miscarriages and douches as possible causes of this type of cancer (which, in frequency, is second only to breast cancer among U.S. women, and takes an estimated 14,000 lives a year, despite thousands of operations for removal).

Looks like Dr. Wynder knew what he was doing here, using lots of women (1,900) in four states. I suspect the anti-circ fanatics (and, fortunately, there were not any at the time) would have found something to complain about.

"Dr. Wynder's key findings:

¶ A woman whose husband is uncircumcised runs 2½ times as great a risk of cervical cancer as a woman, married only once, whose husband has been circumcised.

¶ A woman married only once, but beginning intercourse at 16, is twice as likely to develop cervical cancer as a woman married between 20 and 24. The likelihood keeps going down as the marriage age goes up.

¶ A woman who has two or more marital partners runs a proportionately greater risk of cervical cancer than those married once.

Note that circumcision is not the only factor Dr. Wynder found in the reduced rate of cervical cancer in women. Multiple husbands and early intercourse can increase the rates. But a woman whose husband has a foreskin is 2-1/2 times more likely to get cervical cancer than the woman with a clean-cut circumcised husband. Given that women so often call the shots about whether their son is circumcised, this kind of medical evidence must have been very persuasive indeed.

"That marriage and sexual relations are not the only elements in cervical cancer was shown by the fact that 1% of the victims had never had intercourse. To test his U.S. findings, Dr. Wynder enlisted the help of physicians in India and found direct confirmation: cervical cancer is far commoner among the wives of uncircumcised Hindus than among those of circumcised Moslems, though their hygienic standards are about the same. "

Again, even though cleanliness was the same among both, the wives of uncircumcised Hindus were at greater risk for cancer than circumcised Muslims. No surprise there. In fact, it matches the earlier observation about lower cervical cancer rates among Jewish women.

"Among men, penile cancer is far rarer than cervical cancer among women, but its occurrence follows the same pattern. Dr. Wynder's deduction: circumcision may be a big help in preventing both, presumably because it facilitates personal cleanliness."

When Time Magazine calls circumcision "a big help" back in 1954, you know that American parents were listening. Today, with so much more medical evidence in support of newborn circumcision because it reduces the risk of STDs, HIV, HPV, cancer, and the like, you have to wonder why the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics are being so slow to embrace what their parents and grandparents embraced 55 years ago. Except for a few fanatics with loud voices, the vast majority of American parents want to keep America a clean circumcised nation. We knew it in 1954 -- and we know it in 2009!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

San Francisco Chronicle Joins Boston Globe: Circumcise All Newborns

In a Sunday editorial, the San Francisco Chronicle has joined the Boston Globe in urging the Centers for Disease Control to stick to its original position that now is the time for all American newborns to be circumcised. It comes at a time when the anti-circumcision fanatics have become almost hysterical about the medical science that points to universal male circumcision. The editorial addresses the fanatics calling them what they are -- "hysterical intactivists." The editorial is so good that I am repeating it word for word:

CDC should recommend routine circumcision
Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are weighing a proposal to recommend routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the United States to curb the spread of HIV and other infections. The CDC should ignore the cries of outrage from so-called "intactivists" and recommend the procedure. The evidence shows that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks.

This shouldn't even be controversial. Nearly 80 percent of adult American men are already circumcised, and they seem to be getting through life just fine. Studies have shown that circumcision can reduce HIV infection rates for heterosexual men by half. Observational studies have also shown that circumcised men have lower rates of other sexually transmitted diseases (like herpes and syphilis), cancer of the penis and urinary tract infections. What's the problem, again?

Well, the problem centers on the hysterical intactivists, who believe that: A. circumcision is "mutilation"; and that B. baby boys should be able to "decide for themselves," as though families have no right to make decisions about their children's health, treatment and culture. (Not to mention the health and safety of the larger society.)

The CDC should recommend routine circumcision.

CDC Appears to Backtrack on Universal Newborn Circumcision

Score one for the foreskin lovers. Their hyperbolic fanatic reaction to earlier reports that the Centers for Disease Control was about to do the sound medical thing -- recommend the universal circumcision of all male newborns in the USA -- seems to have taken a toll on some cowardly bureaucrats at the CDC.

Late last week, the CDC issued a clarification that shows all the signs of "political" intervention into the "health" decisions of this agency. If you read their most recent statement, issued last Thursday, it appears that Rush Limbaugh's accusation on radio that President Obama wants mandatory circumcision so scared political officials in the federal government that the big word now is "voluntary," to wit: "Whatever the content may include, CDC’s final circumcision recommendations will be completely voluntary."

Of course, newborn circumcision was ALWAYS going to be voluntary with the decision left, where it should be, with American parents. While it's medically desirable to have every newborn boy leave the filthy foreskin behind in the hospital, we are not a fascist state that can order that happy event, no matter how beneficial to society as a whole.

The larger question, it seems to me, is whether the CDC retreats from the sound medical evidence in the face of the anti-circumcision movement's effort to put the foreskin on a pedestal. The CDC's recent statement sounds like it was written by politicians in Washington, not Atlanta (where CDC is headquartered), to be all things to all people: "With respect to infant circumcision, it is important to recognize that many options are still being considered in this process, including simply recommending that health-care providers educate parents about the potential benefits and risks to ensure that parents have the information they need to make an informed decision."

This is a classic case of sound science & medicine versus a powerful political lobbying group, now well-funded by a multi-millionnaire, that wants to preserve the foreskin at all costs to public health. I feel sorry for CDC's medical doctors and researchers. They know that all the evidence leads to a recommendation that every male be circumcised, but their hands are being tied by political intervention from the White House and the Department of Health & Human Services and other government bureaucrats who want to keep Rush Limbaugh and the anti-circ lobby "happy."

Throughout his campaign and even into the early days of his presidency, President Obama insisted that "sound science" would not be trampled on by political ideology and expediency. The CDC's call for universal newborn circumcision will be a true test of whether Obama means it. If the CDC does the right medical thing and recommends (not mandates) that all baby boys be clean-cut, then we shall know that Obama meant what he said. Otherwise, it's the same old political interference that we've come to expect from the federal government. Let's hope the CDC doctors have the spine and fortitude to stand up to those who are politicizing an important decision that will protect the health of every male, his partners, and society as a whole.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Boston Globe Endorses Newborn Circumcision for all Males

In another dramatic sign that America may be returning to its clean-cut, foreskin-free tradition, the Boston Globe has editorialized its view that all American boys should be circumcised at birth.

Entitled "Circumcision: A Cut against HIV," the Globe hailed the Centers for Disease Control's call to circumcise all American infant boys. "Such a tactic makes sense against a virus that infects more than 50,000 Americans each year," the editors wrote.

The editorial marks another sign that the anti-circ fanatics are losing the battle because the medical evidence is just so strong in favor of universal mandatory circumcision. The hope is that more major newspapers and media organizations will follow the Globe's example and encourage the CDC. The anti-circ foreskin lovers have mounted a strong PR campaign to dissuade the CDC from its sound science approach, but most Americans dismiss the foreskin lovers as whackos.

As I have repeatedly noted, the current "neutral" government policy hurts minorities, African Americans, and Hispanics because many have been denied health coverage for newborn circumcisions. The Globe notes that rates of HIV are higher among these groups because many more of them are uncircumcised.

While the overall tone of the editorial is quite positive, the Globe's editors can't quite say what we all know is obvious. It's not enough to call for universal male circumcision -- it should be mandatory. The editorial writers stop short of that, saying, "No one should be forced to circumcise a son. But where the health benefits are clear, the CDC should be equally clear in its recommendations. Circumcision is no panacea, but it deserves the CDC’s support."

In my view, if circumcision has clear health benefits that protect the male, his partners, and society, then it ought to be required for all. That's the editorial I really want to read. But the truth is that American parents are smart enough to follow the medical advice of the CDC, so the practical impact of promoting universal newborn circumcision will be to rid the filthy foreskin from the shores of this country.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

US Health Officials Closer to Pushing Universal Circumcision

Good news out of the NY Times today. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) appears closer than ever to recommending that every male in America be circumcised, preferably at birth. This, of course, is the logical outcome of all the studies over the last decade that demonstrate conclusively that circumcision has a positive health benefit on not only the circumcised male but also his partners and society as a whole.

The story published this Sunday quotes Dr. Peter Kilmarx, the CDC's chief of epidemiology, as saying, "What we’ve heard from our consultants is that there would be a benefit for infants from infant circumcision, and that the benefits outweigh the risks.” The CDC is expected to make its recommendation public by the end of the year, although anti-circ foreskin lovers are waging an all-out effort to save the foreskin through a misleading campaign of lies and innuendoes.

The Times reporter also notes that "circumcision will be discussed this week at the C.D.C.’s National H.I.V. Prevention Conference in Atlanta, which will be attended by thousands of health professionals and H.I.V. service providers."

The United States was once a truly clean-cut country but circumcision rates have fallen because the American Academy of Pediatrics abandoned its pro-circ position in favor of "neutrality." That caused some insurance companies and state Medicaid programs to abandon payment for newborn circumcision.

But as the Times reporter noted, "The academy is revising its guidelines, however, and is likely to do away with the neutral tone in favor of a more encouraging policy stating that circumcision has health benefits even beyond H.I.V. prevention, like reducing urinary tract infections for baby boys, said Dr. Michael Brady, a consultant to the American Academy of Pediatrics."

"He said the academy would probably stop short of recommending routine surgery, however. 'We do have evidence to suggest there are health benefits, and families should be given an opportunity to know what they are,' he said."

Curiously, it's the CDC that is taking the lead to return America to a fully circumcised clean-cut status, while the AAP -- if Dr. Brady is correct -- seems more reluctant to just say what most baby docs know is true: a clean circumcised penis is the healthy choice.

You can read the full NY Times article at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/24/health/policy/24circumcision.html?hp

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Zambia Goal: 80% Circumcised

You have to admire some of the health ministers and governments in Africa that understand the health value of circumcision -- and, more importantly, are not afraid to set goals aimed at universal male circumcision.

The latest word from Zambia, reported in The Post, is that the country's health minister has embraced circumcision as an important HIV prevention strategy. Moreover, the World Health Organization's representative in Zambia, Dr. Olusegun Babaniyi, has said the country must achieve an 80% circumcision rate in 10 years to maximize the effectiveness of circumcision. The current rate is about 13% circumcised. This would require about 2.5 million males to be circumcised.

Of course, the most effective way to achieve universal circumcision is neonatal circumcision. Circumcising at birth is easier, less complicated, and much less costly. University Teaching Hospital urologist Dr. Kasonde Bowa says his hospital has begun a neonatal circumcision pilot program, but admits they have a long ways to go.

Taking a country that is only 13% circumcised up to 80% circumcised and, preferably, 100% circumcised takes a time and dedication. Countries like Zambia deserve world acclaim -- and our help -- to achieve their goal of a clean foreskin-free environment.

Here in the United States, where perhaps 75% to 85% of males are clean-cut, we need stronger government advocates for circumcision. The anti-circ fanatics are reportedly putting intense political pressure on the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics to ignore all the medical studies of recent years. Whether America's doctors cave in to political pressure when the medical evidence is so abundant remains to be seen. But there's no question that those who recognize the health benefits to both men and women of a clean-cut foreskin-free society need to speak up -- now!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Universal Circumcision Reduces HIV Dramatically

Did you catch this latest gem of a story? The Phillipines, where universal circumcision is practiced and encouraged, has one of the lowest HIV rates in the world.

A story from ABS/CBN News is worth a moment:

"Dr. Catherine Hankins, chief scientific adviser to UNAIDS, has praised the Philippines for having one of the lowest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the Asia-Pacific, which she attributed to the country's practice of almost universal male circumcision." [my emphasis].

"One of the major reasons for the Philippines' low HIV prevalence rate is the fact that it practices almost universal male circumcision. We know that male circumcision protects against HIV partially, about a 60 percent reduction for men and eventually that means Filipino women are less likely to encounter men who are HIV positive so they have lower rates of HIV," Hankins, chief scientific adviser to UNAIDS, told abs-cbnNEWS.com.

"The Philippines, in adopting male circumcision despite the fact that it is primarily a Roman Catholic country has meant a better control of the epidemic."

"She said various studies have shown the benefits of male circumcision including lower rates of urinary tract infections in male infants who are circumcised; lower risk of penile cancer and lower prevalence of some sexually transmitted infections such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2)."

Now we've known this medical evidence for some time now, but what is interesting is that the Phillipines is a perfect "case study" of what happens when every male is clean-cut. Of course, there is some HIV & STDs & HPV, but the cultural desire to be circumcised has greatly cut the rates of those awful diseases there. In the Philippines to be "supot" or "pisot" (meaning uncircumcised) is not only unhealthy but it's also socially unacceptable. Indeed, to call someone supot or pisot is a great insult, meaning not only are they uncircumcised but they are dirty, unclean, and child-like.

I hope Dr. Hankins has talked to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) so that they, like the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS, can forcefully call for universal circumcision in America.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Circumcision Improves Women's Sex Life

"Male circumcision perks up women's sex life" was the headline the other day in The Money Times (of all places). Of course, it's true as we all know. Most women prefer a circumcised male once they've experienced that pleasure. [This is where the foreskin lovers will chime in about most women have sex with uncircumcised males -- but that's only because these poor women don't have any other options].

No surprise, this is still another study that proves the benefits of getting rid of that ugly, disease-ridden foreskin.

"Researchers studied 455 female partners of circumcised men in Uganda. The research team studied the sexual satisfaction of circumcised men’s partners as part of the initial trials to test the efficacy of male circumcision."

"In the study women, between the ages of 15 and 49, reported their sexual satisfaction before and after their partners were circumcised. Around 57 percent of the women reported no change in sexual satisfaction while 39 percent said sex was more satisfying post-circumcision, and mere 3 percent reported less satisfaction after their male partner’s circumcision."

Let's emphasize that. The anti-circ fanatics say that circumcision hurts sex. You know the standard bullshit -- "it takes away thousands of nerve endings" blah blah blah. In this study, a slight majority of women reported no difference -- and 39% said circumcision improved sex. No surprise, only 3% were unhappy. So much for those "nerve endings."

"According to Dr. Godfrey Kigozi, MD, of the Rakai Health Sciences Program in Kalisizo, Uganda, the handful of women who reported reduced sexual satisfaction blamed either lower levels of desire or their partner’s struggle to achieve an erection." Yah, it wasn't the circumcision anyways.

"On the other hand, those women who reported improved sexual satisfaction said improved hygiene (cited by 51 of 177 women) and the fact that their partner took longer to achieve an orgasm (45 of the 177 women) resulting in longer sex, perked up their sex life."

"Kigozi and colleagues reported their findings at the fifth annual International AIDS Society conference on pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of HIV."

Readers of my blog know that I believe the best reason to circumcise is good public health. But, hey, it can't hurt when that little snip improves your sex life!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Auto Circumcision: The Act of Faking Being Circumcised

Just when you think you've heard it all, you learn something new about the desirability of circumcision. Turns out that there are lots of males out there who wish they were circumcised but weren't. But instead of getting their filthy foreskins snipped, they retract their skin and leave it retracted all the time. WTF!

Apparently so many dudes do this that it's got a name: auto circumcision. Here's the definition of that in the Urban Dictionary: "the act of retracting the foreskin of the penis and keeping it retracted all the time so it appears to others to be circumcised; auto circumcision is popular among circumcision fetishists, especially some gays, who believe the circumcised penis is the most attractive; a dude who is auto circumcised looks cut to the casual observer in the locker room but still has his foreskin."

Does anyone know anyone who pretends to be circumcised? Can you tell the difference? And why would someone do this? Seems to me the answer is obvious. It's better to be circumcised! It's better to feel circumcised! It's better to look circumcised! In short, auto circumcision is the best proof ever that uncircumcised dudes wish they had had parents who would have done it right at birth. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Failure to Circumcise Cost Millions of Deaths

Sometimes it takes awhile for medical scientists to understand the importance of the discoveries made by fellow researchers. Such was the case of the link between the foreskin and HIV/AIDs, a discovery first made nearly 25 years ago.

Alex Renton, a reporter for The Observer, wrote this over the weekend:

"In 1985 researchers discovered that circumcised men who visited prostitutes in Kenya were much less likely to contract HIV. Some 30 studies on the issue were done during the 1990s, but it was not until 2004 that formal double-blind trials were commissioned by international Aids agencies. As a result of "overwhelming results" from these, pilot programmes for mass circumcision of men began in a number of African countries late last year. "

"It is now accepted by the World Health Organisation and other bodies that circumcision reduces chances of HIV infection by about 60%, and that up to 3 million deaths and 5.7 million infections could be prevented over the next 20 years. About 30 million people are thought to have died from Aids-related illnesses since 1981."

Dr Catherine Hankins, the chief scientific adviser to UNAids, the United Nations special agency for the epidemic, said that the failure to test the findings in the 1990s was "hard to explain".

"There's a good question to be asked of the research agencies: why they did not start the trials earlier," said Hankins. "We had 20 years of observational data on circumcision. I can't think of another product, or a technique, that waited for so long before trials." Circumcision has now been proved a very cost-effective way of reducing the rate of HIV infection, she said.

"Professor Francis Plummer, who led the University of Nairobi research team that first discovered the circumcision-HIV link in Kenya in the 1980s, said millions of lives might have been saved if his research had been acted upon sooner.

"There's been a failure of global public health institutions. We haven't done it very well. It's a frustration I've lived with for a very long time," Plummer said.

The failure of public health organizations to act has been deadly, not just in Africa but all over the world. In 2009, there is absolutely no reason for any male to have a disease-causing filthy foreskin. How long must we wait until the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, to say nothing of their counterparts in other countries, wake up? It's time for the AAP and CDC to state clearly: the circumcision of every boy is a must to protect not only their own health, but also the health of their partners and society as a whole.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy 4th of July: Circumcision as American as Apple Pie

Happy Fourth of July, blog readers! As we celebrate America's independence for over 200 years, it's also a good time to celebrate our freedom of choice to circumcise our sons in the traditional American way.

Circumcision is as American as apple pie. "We are a circumcised country," one pediatrician was quoted as saying. The roots of the practice are very old and very deep in this country, perhaps not back to the Founding Fathers but at least 150 years old.

Today, to be uncircumcised is to be un-American, not in the political context, but in the social context. That's why so many second generation Americans from all over the world circumcise their sons -- "to be American" -- is the common refrain. This accepted belief, that you're not really a true American if you're uncircumcised, drives the anti-circ fanatics ballistic. But it's deeply engrained in the fabric of our country.

I would argue that circumcision unites us. We may come from different religious, ethnic, and national backgrounds -- but one thing almost all American boys share is a circumcised penis. It may strike uncircumcised foreigners as whacky, but it's the one thing (hopefully along with our common language) that American males can share together.

Admittedly, circumcision is not as universal here as it is in the Phillipines or Korea. The Filipino government offers free circumcisions to encourage a foreskin-free nation, while some of our states have withdrawn free Medicaid coverage of circumcision. This will likely change when the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics update their policies to encourage circumcision as an effective HIV, STD, HPV prophylactic.

In the meantime, on this Fourth of July, let's celebrate our circumcised nation and our freedom to circumcise our sons, something the anti-circs are working hard to deny us. They won't succeed because America is and will always be a circumcised country.

Happy Fourth of July!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Be A Good Father: Circumcise Your Son

It's Father's Day in the USA and many other countries -- a great day to remember that good fathers circumcise their sons.

The good news is that most dads in this country, who are thankfully circumcised, understand the importance of continuing the "family tradition." Despite the great efforts of the anti-circs to portray these dads as mindless butchers, most fathers know that the greatest gift they can give their sons is a clean healthy foreskin-free penis with which to perpetuate the generations.

On Father's Day, my greatest respect goes out to uncircumcised fathers who choose to circumcise their sons. There are a growing number of these dads who not only recognize the health benefits they are conferring on their boys but who are also beginning a new family tradition of clean-cut healthy males. If you are one of those dads, you are very special and deserve special thanks this Father's Day.

Of course, the worst fathers are those circumcised dads who have been so manipulated by the anti-circ foreskin lovers that they mistakenly impose a filthy foreskin on their sons. One can only hope they get smarter because it's never too late to circumcise.

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mandatory Circumcision for Zambia Police Recruits

The Zambia National Broadcasting Company is reporting a new policy in that country: the mandatory circumcision of all male police recruits. Congratulations! I wonder if all policemen in America are circumcised? How ironic that American government officials are pushing for male circumcision in Africa but are strangely quiet here at home. Shouldn't we have a policy that all police and, frankly, U.S. military be circumcised? What's good in Africa is good at home.

"Recruits to be circumcised"

"The Zambia Police Service says plans are underway to introduce a mandatory circumcision policy for all male recruits. Kamfinsa Police training school commanding Officer, Malcom Mulenga, says male circumcision will help prevent HIV and AIDS cases in the Police service.
Mr. Mulenga, says the Zambia Police Service has continued to lose qualified manpower as a result HIV/AIDS. "

"He was speaking when the American government handed over a Voluntary Counselling and Testing centre to the Zambia Police Service. At the same function, Home Affairs deputy Minister, Misheck Bonshe, welcomed plans by the Zambia Police Service to circumcise male recruits. And the United States Charge d' Affairs for Zambia, Michael Koplovsky, said his government has set aside K1.5 billion for the construction of health centres for police officers."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Microsoft's Bill Gates Pushes Circumcision

The anti-circs will go ballistic. Every time you buy a Microsoft product and help Bill Gates pump money into his foundation, you are circumcising a male somewhere in the world! That's because, according to the New Scientist (see below), Gates is pumping $50 million into a program to circumcise 650,000 Africans. Bravo, Bill!

Gates knows what most rational, thinking people know -- circumcision is good for public health -- and a foreskin-free country, whether in America or Africa, is good for every male and his partners. Of course, I just love the idea that every time we use a PC, we are helping to make the world a clean-cut, safer place. Any bets on how long it will be before the anti-circ fanatics organize a boycott of Microsoft?

"Bill Gates helps fund mass circumcision programme"

"Microsoft founder Bill Gates last week injected $50 million into a programme to circumcise up to 650,000 men in Swaziland and Zambia."

"The goal of the project is to curb the transmission of HIV in two of the AIDS hotspots of the world, as circumcision has been shown to more than halve the risk of men becoming infected.
Funded for five years through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the programme is the first to massively scale up provision of circumcision by fully trained medical practitioners."

"Traditional methods of circumcision sometimes harm and even kill boys and young men. The network of 250 teams of providers will be managed by Population Services International, a global health organisation based in Washington, DC."

"It's great news, and this is exactly what's needed," says Catherine Hankins, chief scientific adviser at UNAIDS. "We've been working on development of guidance and technical support, and these development partners are now being funded to take it forward," says Haskins.

"Hankins said that Kenya has the most advanced programme, with 20,000 men newly circumcised, and plans are also well-advanced in Botswana and Namibia. But she stressed that circumcision can't alone protect men or women against HIV, and that circumcised men should still take additional precautions, such as wearing condoms and not engaging in risky or promiscuous sex."

"Ensuring they understand how to maintain safe behaviours is key, and the procedure would be 100-per-cent accompanied by education to that end", says a PSI spokesman.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Americans Lead Way for Africa on Circumcision, But Don't Forget the Homefront

I have blogged about this before, but it's worth repeating. The United States is showing amazing leadership in circumcising African males, as the latest story below reports, and who can quarrel with doing that on that disease-infected, foreskin-afflicted continent. But I worry that the strong campaign to circumcise African males may blind the eye to what is happening here at home. Sadly, even if the anti-circs exaggerate the numbers, more American boys, especially Latinos and blacks, are going uncircumcised. In part, that's because the government Medicaid program no longer pays for this important procedure in about a dozen states. Poor blacks and Latinos are the first to suffer.

So while we can all applaud the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. government through PEPFAR, and PSI -- let's not forget the boys at home who need to be circumcised, too.

Here's a June 11 press release from PSI:

"The Male Circumcision Partnership is launching a massive scale-up of voluntary male circumcision services in Swaziland and Zambia. The Partnership is supported by a five-year, US$50 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Population Services International (PSI). PSI and partners Marie Stopes International, Jhpiego, The Population Council and the governments of Swaziland and Zambia estimate that the project will provide voluntary male circumcision services to nearly 650,000 men."

"The Male Circumcision Partnership program in Swaziland and Zambia also builds upon the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) supported medical male circumcision activities in each country. This partnership is evidence of a strong and growing coordination among the Gates Foundation, PEPFAR and other partners under the leadership of host country governments to support evidence-based medical male circumcision for the purpose of HIV prevention."

"Cited by both the World Health Organization and UNAIDS as an "important intervention," male circumcision reduces HIV infections among men by 60%,according to scientific research -- more effective than any vaccine currently in development."

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Aussie/NZ Doctors Cave to Anti-Circumcision Fanatics

According to The Age, a Melbourne newspaper, the Australia/New Zealand college of physicians is not yet ready to do the obvious -- recommend the circumcision of all baby boys. Anti-circumcision fanatics have been more successful on that continent than in the USA, dropping the number of healthy, clean-cut boys over the last twenty years.

Here's the article from its June 6 paper with my comments in boldface:

"THE Royal Australasian College of Physicians has flagged it will not change its policy against circumcision despite evidence the procedure can prevent the spread of HIV and other sexual diseases." [How much medical evidence do these docs need?]

"The college, which represents physicians and pediatricians in Australia and New Zealand, has adopted the position that "there is no medical indication for routine neonatal circumcision" since 2004." [A bad decision in 2004, but much worse in 2009.]

"But it has been reviewing this stance in part following recent scientific research suggesting that the risk of HIV infection could be dramatically reduced by the practice. Three trials conducted in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda between 2005 and 2007 showed conclusively, according to the World Health Organisation, "that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60 per cent". [Repeat, docs, circumcision cuts the risk of HIV by 60% -- what are you waiting for? 100%?].

"Further research, published this year in the New England Journal of Medicine, has found that circumcision can reduce the transfer of human papillomavirus — the chief cause of cervical cancer in women — by 35 per cent, and herpes simplex virus — the chief cause of herpes — by 25 per cent." [So, on top of the HIV reduction, it cuts cervical cancer in women by 35% and herpes by 25%, and you Aussie/NZ docs still won't acknowledge the obvious?]

"The journal said the findings underscored "the potential public health benefits of the procedure". The college, which began its review in 2006 and was supposed to come out with a revised policy at the end of 2007, will not do so until the end of this year, as it considers the new evidence." [Better late than never, but what are you waiting for?]

"It is estimated that 10 to 20 per cent of male infants are circumcised in Australia." [Ewww, the thought of so many filthy foreskins in Australia should make us all sick, especially their future female partners].

"The chairman of the college's panel considering the issue, David Forbes, of the University of Western Australia's school of pediatrics, said the African studies had delayed the new recommendation, but so too had the fact "it is a contentious and non-clear-cut issue". [It's only contentious for the foreskin lovers who won't recognize medical evidence.]

"It's quite clear that there's evidence that circumcision in adult males helps prevent HIV in Africa," said Professor Forbes. "It's not so clear that circumcision in Australia in infants is of benefit to the infants or the community. Policy is about getting the right message to health planners so that we have safe but cost-effective expenditure." [The best time to circumcise is at birth, folks. Safer, cheaper, faster, pain-free, cleaner. Everyone knows that.]

New concerns about the practice of circumcision in Australia were raised last week after the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute found that parental consent might not be enough to protect the circumcisers of baby boys from later legal action. [Another distraction by the foreskin lovers. Since when can parents not consent to life-saving medical procedures for their children?]

No specific laws regulate the removal of the foreskin. [The biggest improvement would be a law to require circumcision before entering school, as a public safety measure like vaccinations.]

Professor Forbes said he wanted to have the college's position "finalised by the end of this year, hopefully before". [Again, better late than never].

"He said the benefit of reducing human papillomavirus "appears not to be such an issue in Australia" because a vaccine was being produced. And there were important differences between the HIV situation in Africa and Australia: HIV rates in Australia were far lower and condom use was much higher." [HIV rates are lower in Australia because the previous generation, now sexually active, were circumcised at birth. With so many young boys now afflicted with a foreskin, those rates will change by 2020].

"He said while there was clear evidence that circumcision reduced the rate of urinary tract infection, this alone did not justify routine use of the procedure as the infection rate was so small.
He said the 10-strong panel consisted of pediatricians, surgeons and policy and public health experts. "There are extremely strong views at both ends of the spectrum for those who promote circumcision and those who oppose it," he said." [Yes, another benefit of circumcision, the reduction of UTI. The list of benefits goes on and on and on, but Aussie docs ignore them].

"Undertaking elective surgery of minors who are not able to consent is for many pediatricians an even bigger issue, especially when there are examples of (Muslim) societies who elect to have it at puberty when people can choose." [This 'consent' issue is another red herring raised by the anti-circ fanatics. What about parental rights and responsibilities to keep their children healthy?]

"Dr Forbes declined to preview what the college's recommendation would be. "Policy change tends to be evolutionary, not revolutionary, and given that there are no trials of neonatal circumcision for prevention of HIV, I wouldn't expect revolutionary change. I would expect evolutionary change." [Just follow the science, dudes].

"Roger Short, from Melbourne University's department of obstetrics and gynaecology, hopes the college will view circumcision in a more favourable light. "It would be exciting to see the Royal College come forward with a slightly more progressive attitude than its previous pronouncements," he said. "The evidence is coming in, and it is irrefutable, that there are major benefits." [Thank you, Dr. Short. You're a doc who speaks the truth on the science].

"Professor Short said there were no grounds for making circumcision mandatory." [Well, I disagree about this. Circumcision should be required for all boys, with exceptions for the obvious conscientious religious objection].

Instead, the college should change its recommendation. "I think we should go from saying 'when in doubt, don't circumcise' to 'when in doubt, do'." [Absolutely. So Aussie/NZ docs, just do it].

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tim Tebow & Circumcision: a Public Service Circumciser

I feel sorry for Tim Tebow, the awesome quarterback for the University of Florida 'Gators, not because he has a terrific future in front of him. But because people cannot seem to blog about him without tossing in his missionary trip to the Phillipines during the 2008 spring break.

During that trip, Tim took part in circumcising Filipino boys who almost all get circumcised in that country. Circumcision is a rite of passage in a country that is about 95% foreskin-free. To be uncircumcised is to be "supot" or "pisot." Both words carry a negative connotation far beyond the simple expression "uncircumcised," the literal translation. If you call another dude supot, it's like saying he's unclean, a baby, and unworthy to be a man.

While some college kids go on drunken debaucheries during spring break, Tim was helping out his father on a mission trip. Here was the account at the time:

"In an impoverished village outside General Santos City in the Philippines, Tebow helped circumcise impoverished children. On the Friday of a weeklong trip to the orphanage his father's ministry runs in Southeast Asia, Tebow assisted with the care of locals who had walked miles to the temporary clinic that the ministry helped organize. More than 250 people underwent medical and dental procedures, some of them from "Dr. Tebow," who has no formal surgical training."

"The first time, it was nerve-racking," he said. "Hands were shaking a little bit. I mean, I'm cutting somebody. You can't do those kinds of things in the United States. But those people really needed the surgeries. We needed to help them."

"Tebow didn't plan on operating that day in the Philippines -- his job was to preach to the hundreds of people before they had teeth pulled or cysts removed. But as the day rolled on, he grew curious about the three Filipino doctors and his friend, UF graduate and aspiring doctor Richard "R.B." Moleno, in the bus-sized vehicle that served as a mobile hospital.

"Tebow started as a helper and gofer, holding tools and running errands for the medics. By afternoon, he was asking questions and looking for more active ways to help. And by the end of an exhausting day, he was wearing gloves and a mask, wielding surgical scissors, finishing off stitches with a snip."

In my view, Tim Tebow's public service circumcision of Filipino boys is something to praise, not ridicule. But, of course, the media is the media. And Tebow is a lightening rod. I just hope as he enters the NFL, he'll remember how important it is to promote a clean-cut, foreskin-free country both here at home and in Asia, too.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

American Males: Damaged by Circumcision the Anti-Circs Say

If you're circumcised like me, then when the anti-circ foreskin lovers spout this bullshit (excuse the language) about us being damaged, you can't help but wonder what they're drinking. Check out this youtube video of a circumcised dude who left his son wtih a filthy foreskin. He's a so-called "intactivist" who marched on Washington (all ten of them) to protest "genital mutilation" of males in America. What do you think of this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fofyk2MK__M

Music Soothes Circumcision of Infants

When I was circumcised at birth in the 1980s, nobody bothered with any kind of pain relief like many docs use today. Personally, I think it's a waste of time and money, but if it helps parents feel better, go for it. My own view is that whatever pain there is, if any, it's momentary, and most of us circumcised males never remember it anyways.

Now there's another study that suggests that playing music during newborn circumcision soothes the child. Great, if it works. There's no real way to measure pain in an infant anyways, as increased heart beats and breathing would be natural with any snip, snip. Most of this "pain" talk comes from the anti-circs who want us to feel like we are murdering our own kids when we give them the life protection of a clean-cut penis. I've heard the foreskin lovers have gone so far as to dub in shrieks and wails to medical videos of newborn circumcisions. Just another form of photo-shopping.

When it comes to music, hey if it makes the parents feel better, again, be my guest. I don't think the kid cares at all about it, any more than they do about pain meds. Boys have been circumcised for thousands of years, and the old-fashioned ways still work for me. Here's a clip from the article. Please comment below.

"Music Soothes Circumcision Pain"

"Music may reduce pain for babies during certain procedures, research suggests"

Posted May 28, 2009

By LiveScience Staff, LiveScience

"Music may help ease pain and provide therapeutic benefits for babies undergoing common medical procedures, including circumcision, according to new research.

"Neonatal units are increasingly using music as a way to manage pain for babies during routine practices. It is thought that playing music helps calm babies and stabilize some of their vital functions. However, past research has not been strong enough to back up these claims.

"To evaluate music's effects on infants, scientists from the University of Alberta in Canada reviewed nine previous studies published between 1989 and 2006, which included both premature and full-term babies.

"It was hard to draw an absolute conclusion from these trials because they included different study populations that were tested in different ways, and some of the trials were not set up optimally. However, the Alberta researchers found very preliminary evidence that music has a beneficial effect during certain procedures, such as blood sampling and circumcision.

"One study, which the researchers rated as high quality, looked at the effect of lullabies and nursery rhymes during circumcision. The results showed that playing music did help lower pain and prevent the babies' heart rates from increasing."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Is Tattooing a Child Worse than Circumcision?

The Atlanta Journal Constitution is getting dozens of comments on this posted question: "Is tattoing a child worse than piercing ears, circumcision?" It's a question that comes about because a father has been charged with child abuse for tattoing his 3-year old son. http://blogs.ajc.com/momania/2009/05/28/is-tattooing-a-child-worse-than-piercing-ears-circumcision/

Of course, there's no parallel at all between inflicting a tattoo on a child and giving him the life protection of circumcision. One has no value except to satisfy the father's weird tatt desires, while the other -- the removal of the disease-inflicting foreskin -- is recommended by the World Health Organization to protect the male and his parents. Most of the posters see the immediate difference, but it's still amusing to see the anti-circ foreskin lovers carry on.

Monday, May 25, 2009

TSA Full Body Scanners Can See Circumcisions

We all know the stories about uncircumcised males being embarrassed about their foreskins, at least in circumcised countries like America. Turns out the new full body imaging scanners being put in place by the TSA at airports across the country are so detailed that TSA will soon know the circumcision status of every dude who gets scanned. I haven't yet heard if the anti-circumcision groups are up-in-foreskins, oops, I mean up-in-arms about this, but it wouldn't surprise me. Keeping track of the nation's uncircumcised males is one way to know who is the most likely threat to public health, I suppose. The TSA is obviously looking for objects and devices that can blow up planes, but I dare say that more people have died from foreskins infecting a male or his partners (especially female) with HIV, HPV, STDs, and other ailments than from a bomb on board an American plane.

Anybody think the day will come when the TSA will haul aside uncircumcised dudes and send them off to a doctor? I admit, that's extreme. But you do wonder whether knowledge that a man's circumcision status will be checked every time he goes through an airport has any impact on circumcision rates in the USA.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Foreskin on the Forehead: The Latest in Beauty"

A fellow named Buck Wolf posted that headline and the following article on Friday. Turns out the Brits have found at least one good use for the otherwise disgusting foreskin -- grind it up and use it in skin treatments. The product is called Vavelta (not to be confused with Velveeta, the cheese product that foreskins and smegma might remind you of), and it apparently really helps damaged skin. So instead of discarding those ugly little pieces of foreskin, let's recycle them to help our ladies!

"If you find the idea of taking Botox injections disgusting, why not try a little foreskin on the forehead? Scientific American is reporting that 150 patients in Britain have received injections of Vavelta, a skin treatment derived from the discarded foreskins of babies intended to rejuvenate damaged skin, including wrinkles, acne, burns and surgical incisions.

"It seems that Vavelta is brimming with fibrobrasts, a skin firming protein that becomes scarce with age. The treatment is approved in the U.K., but the F.D.A. has yet to approve the drug.
Of course, many boys have been circumcised for generations, and no one seems to ask where the foreskins end up. Some, we now now, end up on women's faces. But if you support stem cell research (and I do), how can you oppose this?"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

UK Headline: Should All Boys Be Circumcised?

When a British newspaper, a country where circumcision was sadly abandoned a couple generations ago, headlines an article like this -- "Should All Boys Be Circumcised?" -- then you know that the overwhelming medical evidence to circumcise all boys is sinking in.

I love the reporter's lead sentence: "If you were the parent of a baby boy and were told a minor operation could provide him with protection against three diseases (at least) that kill millions worldwide, would you be interested? It is safe to assume that you would. When, however, you discovered that the operation in question was circumcision, would your enthusiasm dwindle?"

In Great Britain, unlike America, the foreskin had a come-back, so being clean cut -- while perfectly acceptable -- is not the norm. At least not yet. The good news is that more British sons are being circumcised, as the growing evidence for universal circumcision mounts. So here's a shout-out to our British cousins (who actually introduced circumcision to America a hundred years ago) who are following the medical science to a clean-cut country.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pro-Circ Doc to Head Centers for Disease Control

Good news for the circumcision movement! President Obama has named Thomas Frieden, MD, to be the new Director of the Centers for Disease Control. Dr. Frieden has been the New York City Health Commissioner. He drove the anti-circs crazy when the New York Times reported that NYC would recommend that all males be circumcised to prevent the spread of HIV. Frieden apparently backed away, or claimed that was never the original intent, but in a letter to the NYT on April 9, 2007, he encouraged discussion of this issue, saying he awaited "stronger evidence." His letter is below, but NOTE that it was written two years ago. In those two years, we now have incredibly strong evidence of the value of circumcision in reducing not only HIV but HPV and STDs in both men and women. Dr. Frieden's appointment is a significant blow to the anti-circumcision fanatics, as he appears to be a man who wants to follow the science.

Old Letter to NYT from new CDC Director:

"The New York City Health Department has not planned, developed or announced a campaign to encourage at-risk men to get circumcised. Like other domestic health agencies, we are encouraging people to discuss and study this issue."

"Because circumcision has the potential to decrease H.I.V. transmission by more than half, we hope that men who choose the procedure will have access to it. A campaign to promote circumcision in this country would be premature without stronger evidence, but the time is right for a communitywide dialogue."

Thomas R. Frieden, M.D. New York City Health Commissioner New York, April 9, 2007

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

WTF -- Docs Who Retract Foreskins Are Child Abusers?

I try to monitor some of the many health-related blogs on the internet, and it's amazing how much free time the anti-circumcision FLs ("foreskin lovers") seem to have. Every health blog gets attacked by the FLs who twist and turn a non-related health subject into one on their favorite subject: circumcision as a child abuse issue.

A recent posting from a pediatrician discussed the importance of doctors who examine children keeping a close eye open for child abuse. We all agree with that. But, no surprise, some whacky FL commented on the abuse of circumcision. His first line was to attack pediatricians who retract the foreskins of uncircumcised boys. WTF. The foreskin is a filthy, diseased cover that collects smegma and harmful germs in close proximity to an otherwise healthy penis. The notion that a pediatrician who gently retracts the foreskin to make sure the child's penis is okay has somehow engaged in child abuse is preposterous.

No surprise, that comment elicited even more stupid responses from anti-circ FLs. You know the argument: circumcising boys is child abuse, blah, blah, blah. Of course, they never mention that it is the healthy smart thing for parents to do to protect their children. But the image they want to conjure is that baby docs, the pediatricians, will report all circumcised boys to the authorities for "child abuse." What nonsense.

If there are any child abusers in this story, clearly it is the parents who harm their sons by failing to circumcise them at birth. Those are the real child abusers, but you won't hear stories about that.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Good Use for the Worthless Foreskin

The disease-entrapping foreskin can cause real harm to the male and his partners -- but researchers have known for years that detached from the human penis the foreskin may have some good uses. The most important one, it seems to me, is to help burn victims and others who need skin grafts. When we achieve 100% circumcision rates, we will increase the supply of foreskins for this important function. Here's an excerpt from a recent article that cites work at Wake Forest, suggesting that skin grafts from foreskins may be better than regular skin grafts. Now this is a good use for the otherwise worthless foreskin.

"At present, skin grafts can be expanded by making cuts in them to create a mesh, or by inserting balloons under the graft once it has been attached to the body.

"These gradually expand, stretching the overlying skin. But, skin meshes heal unevenly and balloons are painful, take months to expand fully and leave scars.

"According to a report in New Scientist, to try to improve on this, Sang Jin Lee of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, took foreskin donated after circumcision and placed it between vices inside a bioreactor, a vessel that bathes the skin in nutrients to encourage cell growth and division.

"The vices were controlled by a computer and could be set to move apart at specific times.
The researchers found that the best method was to stretch the skin at hourly intervals, leaving it to produce new cells in the meantime, then stretching it again.

"By doing this, they were able to elongate the skin by 20 per cent a day, which after five days resulted in an intact strip that was twice as long as the original.

"Tests of the stretched skin showed that its general structure was maintained and that its thickness and pore size were almost identical to the starting tissue.

"Lee said that they have since added extra vices to stretch skin lengthways and widthways at the same time."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Taking Lessons from Botswana on Universal Circumcision

The United States government should take a page or two out of Botswana's commitment to universal circumcision. It's downright embarrassing that we send millions of dollars overseas to circumcise Africans but can't get our act together here at home. Maybe one of these days we can follow Botswana's lead. See story below.

Botswana plans to circumcise nearly half a million

GABORONE (AFP) — Botswana, which has one of the world's highest HIV infection rates, has launched a scheme to circumcise nearly half a million men to curb the spread the disease, the health ministry said Thursday.

The country hopes to circumcise 460,000 men over the next five years, after a series of studies found that circumcised men were two to three times less likely to contract HIV, said Janet Mwambona, a public health specialist in charge of the project.

"For the public health benefits of the preventive effect of circumcision to be realised, the Ministry of Health is supposed to cover 80 percent of eligible males in Botswana," she said.
Government is running television and radio campaigns to encourage men to visit clinics for safe circumcision procedures.

"All primary and district hospitals are currently booking clients and performing the procedure," added Mwambona.

About 50 healthcare providers, including 27 doctors have undergone training on surgical circumcision.

The rapid spread of HIV and AIDS once threatened the survival of the approximately two million people of the land-locked southern African country, until the introduction of antiretroviral drugs in 2003.

According to a 2005 UNAIDS report, Botswana's HIV prevalence among pregnant women between the ages of 15 and 24 has stayed between 35 and 37 percent since 2001.
The rate among the older pregnant women was last measured at 43 percent in 2003.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Listen to the Medical Doctors: Circumcise Now!

Below are just a couple of quotations from some noted medical doctors that I think we all should respect. Of course, the FLs ("foreskin lovers") will disparage these docs in the misguided, ongoing anti-circ effort to protect their beloved foreskin. But with a respected doctor like Anthony Fauci says, "Circumcise!" maybe the American Academy of Pediatrics will listen.

“Medically supervised adult male circumcision is a scientifically proven method for reducing a man’s risk of acquiring HIV infection through heterosexual intercourse,” says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “This new research provides compelling evidence that circumcision can provide some protection against genital herpes and human papillomavirus infections as well.”

“The cumulative scientific evidence supporting the public health value of medically supervised male circumcision is now overwhelming,” says Thomas C. Quinn, M.D., study co-investigator, chief of the International HIV/STD Section in NIAID’s Laboratory of Immunoregulation and co-author of the study. “This new research confirms the substantial health benefits of male circumcision, including reduced acquisition of HIV, genital herpes, HPV and genital ulcer disease.”

"These findings have significant public health implications for the control of HIV, genital herpes and HPV in areas of high prevalence, such as Africa, and further suggest that efforts to scale-up male circumcision could have tremendous benefit,” said Dr. David Serwadda, co-principal investigator and dean of Makerere University’s School of Public Health.

In the eyes of the anti-circumcision fanatics, these doctors must just be looney.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Circumcision Reduces Chance of Swine Flu, H1N1

Could male circumcision reduce the chance of getting H1N1, better known as the swine flu? It's not as far-fetched as some anti-circumcision fanatics might wish. Consider the countries where swine flu has been most devastating. Mexico is an uncircumcised country. They have 590 cases, so far, with 25 deaths. The much larger USA, which is mostly circumcised, has had only 1 death and 225 milder cases.

Now obviously other factors could contribute to the ability of circumcised Americans to withstand the ravages of this flu disease. But the link between the foreskin and swine flu should be examined by the World Health Organization, which already recommends male circumcision to reduce HIV, HPV, and STDs. The FLs ("foreskin lovers") will no doubt jump all over any suggestion of a link betwen swine flu and uncircumcised males -- and this might be a case where there is no link -- but the fact that the country with the most cases of H1N1 and deaths from this is largely uncircumcised should at least give people pause.