Hands OFF Health Department

Seems the NYC DOH is considering a push for adult circumcision, as well as an increase in childhood circumcision as a preventative measure against HIV infection. All of this is stemming from a study made by the World Health Organization on African populations that showed that HIV transmission rates were up to 60% lower among circumcised heterosexual men.

I’ve got a HUGE problem with this. First the study was done on straight men, the largest at risk group in Africa. The largest at risk groups in NYC are IV drug users and gay men. No study has been done on correlations between gay men, circumcision and HIV transmission, and circumcision is going to have no impact on IV drug use transmission. The study also doesn’t address condom use among the uncircumcised population. Studies on African men have long shown that they refuse to use condoms which has added greatly to the HIV epidemic in that region. (Of course it doesn’t help that the Catholic church discourages condom use and that people are so under educated that they believe things like holy water or sex with a virgin can cure HIV.) Why would a city agency push a painful and expensive procedure on a population for which no study has shown a benefit? Yes, fund a study. But why waste tax dollars on promoting a new “solution” that is anything but? Who is the city to tell me what to do with my penis anyway? Condoms are affective, easy to use, and don’t involve several weeks of pain, not to mention reduction in sensation afterwards. The DOH needs to focus on HIV education and keeps its grubby mitts out of my pants.

4 Comments so far

  1. eric (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 4:14 pm

    I can’t even comment about this without getting furious…and yet here I am, trying.
    I think you nailed every salient point why this is a ridiculous mandate, but it’s not as if our nanny stater Mayor would notice or care.
    Our politicians increasingly feel the need to appear as if they’re doing something proactive without it actually having much merit at all.
    And, in an age when the Catholic church is only helping to propagate those myths (I have to find a particularly chilling article where some evangelical in the US refuses to accept that condom use lowers STI infection rates) about transmission…well, the end result is they think something as ridiculous as circumcision is going to be the solution.


  2. Melissa (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 6:54 pm

    I read about that in the NY Times today and could NOT believe what I was reading.

    I got angry and I’m not even a guy!


  3. Brian (unregistered) on April 5th, 2007 @ 9:56 pm

    Are they stupid? Most American men already are circumcised, and they still got HIV!


  4. Josh (unregistered) on April 6th, 2007 @ 3:57 pm

    I don’t mind if the mayor bans smoking in bars or trans fat because there is scientific evidence of their affects and I can get them/do them in the privacy of my own home, or elsewhere outside of the city.

    Circumcision is a permanent procedure that is irreversible and there is no scientific evidence that it actually does anything to stop HIV here in this country or this city.

    Someone needs to tell the Mayor to stay out of people’s pants! What’s next, female circumcision because it cuts down on sexual activity, which means less babies, which means less diapers and the city is using too many diapers?



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