survey says

So Circumcision Won’t Help American Men Stop Spreading HIV?

In August, citing studies in several African nations that saw cut men were less at risk for spreading HIV, we asked, “If Circumcision Halves Risk of Spreading HIV, Should All Baby Boys Get Cut?” Yeah, maybe not: “Although studies in Africa have shown that circumcision can lower the spread of HIV among heterosexuals, it may not do much to prevent infections among gay and bisexual men in Western countries, a new study suggests. A number of studies in African nations have found that circumcised heterosexual men were up to 60 percent less likely than uncircumcised men to contract HIV during the study periods. But it is unclear whether circumcision could have an impact on HIV transmission in the U.S. or other Western countries, where much of the transmission is among men who have sex with men. There has so far been no good evidence that circumcision lowers HIV risk among these men. In the new study, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) looked at HIV infection rates among nearly 4,900 men in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands who took part in a clinical trial of an HIV vaccine. They found that circumcised and uncircumcised men showed no difference in the risk of HIV infection over three years. Moreover, while having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive partner increased a man’s risk of infection, there was no evidence that circumcision altered that risk.” [Reuters]

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  • RichardR

    I’m convinced the difference is sanitation. Ev’body wash that thang!

  • tazz

    Circumcised or not, I find it silly that people would even care as it all comes down to one thing; safe sex.

    Besides that, I really wish every HIV+ man would acknowledgment their status to each and every single person BEFORE sex, not ignore it on the basis that “they didn’t ask” – fortunately most of these men do acknowledge it, and I thank them for it

  • Cam

    Well DUH! If somebody is bottoming it isn’t going to matter if they are circumsized or not regarding their infection rates. Could somebody please give these researchers a pamphlet or something explaining gay sex.

  • terrwill

    @RichardR: Co-sign! I swear once upon a time, this Asian dude unrolled the goods and I swear the paint on my walls started peeling also………… :-{

  • tarxien

    What these studies also omit is the enormous mortality rate in Africa from circumcision performed in unhygienic conditions, without anaesthetic by tribal elders. At least 80 young men died in South Africa alone last year in Xhosa ceremonies. Many others suffer horrific injuries.

  • Timothy

    Stupidist study ever.

    Circumcision affects heterosexual men because they are, by definition, insertive. This is not universally true about gay men.

    But it seems this study made no attempt to distinguish between tops and bottoms.

    It would have been interesting to know whether there was any difference in infection rate between circumcised and uncircumcised gay men who are exclusively tops. But this study… just stupid.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    First off, the African studies which are cited so often, were skewered towards the results the researchers wanted. There is tremendous evidence of this available online, if one chooses to look for it.

    Secondly, the study took at face value the admissions by the males that they were all straight. In nations where homosexuality is punishable by prison and death, not too many African men will admit to being bisexual, or homosexual.

    Lastly, there have been two, or three studies that showed female circumcision reduces HIV transmission by 50%. I don’t see anyone touting that as the cure for AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Michael

    This whole argument is just silly.

    This was great, whoever wrote this above:

    “What these studies also omit is the enormous mortality rate in Africa from circumcision performed in unhygienic conditions, without anaesthetic by tribal elders. At least 80 young men died in South Africa alone last year in Xhosa ceremonies. Many others suffer horrific injuries.”

    Who CARES if it helps reduce HIV infection in Africa, in America, or wherever! Circumcision is so ridiculously harmful to men for a number of reasons (maybe not death, but many other complications or even simply loss of sensation of loss of proper function) that it isn’t worth cutting off flesh to reduce a disease. HABITS, PRACTICES, and HYGIENE will cut disease.

    Using this “cut off the foreskin to prevent disease”-logic, I could deduce that in order to reduce gunshot victims, we should routinely cut off the fingers of our young children and adults?

    Hahaha. Oh right. Now it makes sense.


  • Joseph

    male genital mutilation is what circumcision is!! It should be outlawed!

  • GP

    the data in Africa was bad because it was meta-data (i.e., the researchers did not do actual test and controlled the sudies to rule out ethnic practices that contibuted to infection that did not include sex – blood rituals are common there). The fact that the US and Europe data don’t support the cut cock hypothesis has been ignored. If there was a real link between circumcision and HIV infection, then we would see a difference in the infections rate between the USA (more cut cocks) and Europe (less cutting). However, since we do not see a statistical difference in infection rates between the USA and Europe, a reaonsable person would conclude that cutting has no statistical influence on HIV infection rates (that does not sit well with the Jewish doctors who published the meta-data studies supporting circumcision).

  • Jeff K.

    Cutting off bits off someone’s penis seems rather silly and barbaric when all it takes to prevent HIV is the proper use of a condom.

    And the hygiene argument is just as pathetic. Should we have children’s teeth surgically removed so that they don’t get cavities?

  • Georgy Pie

    it “supposedly” cuts the risk of heterosexual males GETTING HIV from women, i.e., their vaginal fluid. Because of langerhans cells in the foreskin, primarily.

    BUT there is a lot of problems with the data and the analysis.

    however, with gay guys, I wonder if you can even compare vaginal vs. anal secretions. Because vaginal fluid has HIV in it, as far as i know, the anus doesn’t secrete fluid like the way the vagina does.

    So it’s stupid, illogical reasoning.

    I second the opinion that someone should give these HIV policymakers a basic course on gay sex and gay fluids.

    The CDC may issue a recommendation that U.S. baby boys be circumcised. This would be horrible; it’d be a catastrophe. They’re looking into it in committees right now. The word on the street is that they will issue this recommendation in a few months. This is very, very wrong on so many ethical and scientific levels.

  • hardmannyc

    Of course not. Only a condom prevents HIV transmission.

  • houseofnumbers

    View the new documentary “House of Numbers” to see why questions about this must be raised and deeper issues about HIV and AIDS need to be discussed. Lives are at risk, and this is the first documentary with the worlds foremost authorities highlights the scientific problems with HIV testing, science, statistics, and why there is no cure. If sheds new light on a misunderstood phenomena. GO to to see the trailer.

    Truth about AIDS as told by Dr. Luc Montagnier. AIDS can be reversed. Nutrition is the answer.

  • idforgotten

    Sometimes I just want to give up on humanity. Are we seriously debating the merits of compulsory genital mutilation vs. the apparently agonizing burden of training men to slip a rubber on their dicks?

  • Samuel

    Give me cut anyday…

  • ben doverr

    …and send the rest my way.

  • Tom

    Sometime in the 1990s, Playboy magazine did an article on heterosexual sexual practices in Africa. Most of it was gross, but among the outrageous things I remember from the article was that the men liked dry sex. Women inserted many different things including animal excretia to keep the vaginal walls dry and constricted. There was a list of the preparations they used. The men did not want the women to secrete lubricating fluids. It is no wonder that in that type of sex, a circumcised penis would be less likely to have the skin damaged and thus be more resistant to infection. None of these “studies” from Africa talk about this. I guess it is too indelicate for the researchers or their readers, but they are prescribing something drastic for the entire world based on an undisclosed sexual practice.

    I read an article by a female pediatrician recommending circumcision as a way to prevent American males from getting AIDS. I emailed her and asked her to tell me truthfully if she had a son would she tell him that he did not need further protection, like a condom, from HIV because he was circumcised. Would she really gamble with her son’s life like that? She did not answer me. I guess with her, like most doctors, it was a cutting fetish.

  • Intactive

    From the numbers given: with 4889 men in the study, 86% ( circumcised is 4205 men, hence 684 intact. 7% of the total became HIV+, that’s 342 men. Only 43 intact men became HIV+, that’s 6.3% of 684, compared to 299 (342-43) circumcised men with HIV or 7.1% (299/4205). So circumcision doesn’t just fail to protect, it might increase the risk. Using the same rhetoric as the circumcision advocates, one could say “circumcision increases the risk by 13.1%” but that would be spuriously accurate.

    Real scientists study the evidence and accept what it shows, whether they like it or not. These people are determined to prove that circumcision is beneficial, and they’ll just keep on doing studies till they get one that seems to show it is. Then they’ll headline it worldwide.

  • ell

    The only reason any decline in new HIV infection was noted in these studies is because they were looking at the infection rare during the time period right after being circumcised. These guys weren’t having any sex, gay straight or otherwise, because they’d just had the end of their penis cut off … so, the only thing that could be concluded from this study is that pain from mutilation will deter sexual activity. Bashing their weenies with a hammer would result in the same decline. I can’t believe this is considered science.

  • petronius

    1. If there was ANY benefit to circumcision, we would also be doing it to our livestock, show animals, and pets because we care about their health.(and even girls too)
    2. If a grown man has the right to make his own decision about this, why do we accept taking away that right as soon as he is born?
    3. Apparently the doctors who cut haven’t read the dictionary. Foreskin: A protective fold of skin on the penis. That seems it indicate that there is an important function.
    4. Why do mothers not consider that their decision to cut cannot be reversed? If left alone and it turns out that the boy wants to be cut he can. But once it is off there is no turning back.
    (until now with “foreskin restoration” which does not regenerate the lost nerves or other structures.)

    NEWS FLASH: is in the beginning stages of clinical trials to re-grow the ENTIRE foreskin structure including nerves, glands,So far they have grown finger, hand, heart valves, and(in an animal) an entire penis! They report a high number of men who want to be in the trial.

  • Milton

    Not while they are getting f*cked up the a**
    For as we all know the mayor gateway for HIV infection is through anal sex.

  • Milton

    Very interesting that actually the foreskin or prepuce produces lysome and other anti-bacterial secretions that actuall protect against HIV infection:
    makes sense from a biological point of view or why would we be born with prepuces.If prepuces are prone to infection it is not productive for the specie’s reproduction.

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