- Obama military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Adult circumcision drive to fight AIDS faces resistance
Grown men not cooperating in African nations
Question of the Day
Ambitious plans to curtail the spread of AIDS by promoting male circumcision have fallen far short of organizers’ hopes, particularly in Africa.
As activists prepare to mark World AIDS Day on Saturday, researchers are touting new technological methods to raise circumcision rates in grown men, but face growing scientific questions and popular resistance.
Global leaders in the fight against AIDS are pushing for an accelerated drive to meet the goal of circumcising 20 million African men by 2015.
But results so far are sobering: Only around 2 million African men have had the procedure, even though it is viewed as an “exceptional” HIV-prevention method. And there are strong voices who say the entire effort to promote circumcision in adult males is misguided.
Circumcision backers are closely watching the practical results of two new techniques that aim to help the 14 targeted African countries meet their circumcision goals.
“We’re here for one reason: to help Africa reach 20 million men by 2015 – full stop,” said Tzameret Fuerst, chief executive officer of Circ MedTech. The private, Israel-based company developed PrePex, a plastic-and-elastic device that results in a “bloodless” circumcision in a week’s time, without surgery, stitches, sterile settings or shots of painkillers.
PrePex is now being tested in pilot studies – the final steps needed to get World Health Organization (WHO) approval. If approved in 2013, PrePex would be available for countries to use in their “voluntary medical male circumcision” or VMMC, campaigns.
Another “sutureless” product, the Shang Ring, is also moving through the process to receive WHO approval. “We are optimistic it will receive prequalification status,” said Dr. Mark Barone, senior clinical adviser at Engender Health, which is researching the Chinese-developed device with Weill Cornell Medical College.
Opponents of circumcision, who cite both health and efficacy concerns, are warily watching the arrival of these devices, which are intended to dramatically increase the number of circumcisions that could be done in a day compared with conventional surgery.
“Whether men will sign up in droves for a procedure that slowly strangles their foreskins to necrosis rather than cuts it off in a single transaction is a good question,” said John Geisheker, executive director of Doctors Opposing Circumcision.
The push for the ‘cut’
Voluntary male circumcision is a key part of a “blueprint” outlined by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday. U.S. funds have already supported the some 2 million circumcisions worldwide, and there are plans to reach 4.7 million men by the end of fiscal 2013.
Other groups, such as AVAC, Global Advocacy for HIV Prevention, are urging a significant “scale-up” of VMMC. It is “one of the untapped potential success factors” to end the spread of AIDS, said Mitchell Warren, executive director of AVAC.
The mass circumcision campaign for African men resulted from years of observations that “uncut” men seemed to get infected with AIDS more often than their circumcised counterparts.
Scientists tested this theory in three studies that involved more than 10,000 African heterosexual men and found that those who got circumcised had a 50 percent to 60 percent lower relative risk of getting HIV than those who weren’t circumcised.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Massachusetts lawmakers OK new abortion clinic buffer law
- Mississippi abortion law can't be enforced
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- Events honoring 20th National Parents' Day reaffirm family
- '50 Shades' movie trailer outrages anti-porn groups
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world