Intactivism News
October - December 2003

More recent news

(More recent items first)


Wed, 17 Dec 2003

Malaysia moots cross-cultural circumcision

By Jonathan Kent
BBC, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia is to consider using mass circumcision ceremonies to promote racial harmony.

Circumcision is a rite of passage for young Muslim boys, and in Malaysia it is common for the ceremony to become an event with dozens, or even hundreds of boys being circumcised together.

Now the prime minister's religious affairs adviser has suggested that circumcision can bring Malaysians of all races and religions together.

Dr Abdul Hamid Othman said that with the growing popularity of circumcision among the country's non-Muslim minorities - who see it as good hygienic practice - they too could be invited to join in the celebrations with their Muslim friends.

He believes the idea could promote better race relations and he wants to see a nationwide circumcision ceremony organised.

Just over half of Malaysia's population is Muslim, mainly members of the ethnic Malay community, while the country's Chinese, Tamil and tribal peoples follow a variety of other faiths.

The government has been exploring ways of stopping the different groups from drifting apart, including the introduction of a national service scheme which begins in February

[This monstrous proposal is closely akin to child sacrifice. Dr Othman may be surprised to find that it is not received with the enthusiasm he expects - especially by its victims.]


Aftenposten Nettutgaven, Local

Damages for surprise circumcision

December 10, 2003

A man who woke up in a Molde hospital and found himself the recipient of an unexpected circumcision has been awarded NOK 20,000 ($US 3,000) in compensation from the surgeon, newspaper Sunnmørsposten reports.

Frostating Court of Appeals ruled that the physician in charge of was negligent for not reading the man's journal before the operation, and found the result of the surgery constituted injury.

The patient told the court that he would never have embarked on surgery to relieve an uncomfortably tight foreskin if he had known a circumcision would result.

The man claimed that the circumcision had destroyed his sex life by reducing the sensitivity of his penis and because he was now embarrassed to appear naked in front of his wife. He said he was also embarrassed to be naked in public bathing facilities now.

The man originally sued both the hospital owner and the doctor but lost, then changed his appeal to concentrate on suing the doctor.

The surgeon said in his defense that at least 60 percent of American men are circumcised and that the procedure is routine for Jewish and Muslim babies. He also argued that the man was objectively better after the operation and he had been warned that the foreskin could be partially or completely removed.

The appeals court chose to believe that the resulting circumcision came as a shock to the patient, and ruled he had suffered damage, though not 'considerable' damage.

The court also ruled that circumcision remains unusual in Norway and that the physical changes to the man's organ were self-evident.



National Council for Children calls for ban on male circumcision

Fri, 5 Dec 2003 02:19:45 -0800

Pressemeddelelse Press release
Af en artikel i Kristeligt Dagblad fremgår det at Børnerådet har stillet eller vil stille et konkret forslag om forbud mod omskæring af drengebørn. According to an article in Kristeligt Dagblad (Christian Daily Blade), it appears that the Council for Children has put forward or will put forward a concrete proposal for prohibiting circumcision of boys.
Forslaget er imidlertid stillet af folketingskandidat fra de Radikale Kim Sejr, og Børnerådets formand har alene kommenteret forslaget. The proposal is however/meanwhile being put forward by a parliamentary candidate from the Radical Left Party, Kim Sejr, and the Council chairman himself has commented on the proposal.
Børnerådet har ikke haft lejlighed til at diskutere et forbud. The Council itself hasn't had an opportunity to discuss the prohibition.
Mine kommentarer har været at debatten afslører et dilemma mellem vores ønske om at give trossamfund ret til at praktisere og hensynet til det enkelte individ og dets rettigheder som menneske, i forbindelse med rituelle handlinger som er knyttet til udøvelsen af troen. My comments have been that the debate reveals a conflict between a desire to grant religious communities the right to practise their faith, and a respect for individual human rights, in the context of rituals associated with the practice of that faith.
Og i et eventuelt valg i dette spørgsmål for mig må falde ud til fordel for individets rettigheder. And in my opinion, in the final analysis it is the rights of the individual that must prevail.
FN´s konvention om barnets rettigheder artikel 24, 3 lyder: "Deltagerlandene skal tage alle effektive og passende forholdsregler med henblik på afskaffelse af traditionsbundne ritualer, som er skadelige for børn." The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child article 24(3) reads: "States Parties shall take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children."
Rækkevidden af denne formulering kan naturligvis diskuteres, men kan næppe fortolkes således at omskæring er uproblematisk i konventionens forstand. The reach/extent/scope of that formulation is naturally open to discussion, but it is scarcely possible to interpret it so that circumcision poses no problems for the purposes of the Convention.
Omskæring af drenge må betragtes som et indgreb som krænker drengenes integritet, og som ikke kan begrundes i hensynet til drengebørns fysiske eller mentale sundhed. Circumcision of boys may/must be viewed as an intervention that violates a boy's integirity, and cannot be justified on the basis of protecting a child's physical or mental health.
Indgrebet er forbundet med smerte og ubehag og er uafvendeligt og derfor betydningsfuldt for drengene. The procedure is accompanied by pain and discomfort and is inevitable and is therefore of great significance to the boys.
Indgrebet må siges at krænke forestillingen om at vi alle bør råde over vores egen krop, også børn, og beslutningen herom bør overlades til drengene selv, når de når en alder hvor de vil kunne overskue konsekvensen af et sådant indgreb. The procedure can be said to infringe on the right to control our own bodies, a right which is also enjoyed by children, and decisions about this should be left to the boys themselves, when they reach an age where they understand the consequences of the procedure.
15 år kunne være et passende tidspunkt. 15 years could be an appopriate age
Det er tidspunktet hvor børn i medfør af loven om patientrettigheder har ret til at sige fra i spørgsmål om behandling for lidelser. That is the age at which, under the law pertaining to patients' rights, children are entitled to refuse medical treatment.

Klaus Wilmann
Chairman, Council for Children


BBC News
Scotland, November 21, 2003

Child porn images 'worst ever'

A bricklayer who had more than 400,000 images of "unimaginable evil and depravity" on his computer has been warned he faces a lengthy jail term.

Sheriff Norrie Stein told 37-year-old Steven Perrie that he faced prison after 403,000 indecent images of children and 16,000 video clips were found at his home in Forfar, Angus.

Police who had to sift through the images described it as the worst material they had ever seen.

At Forfar Sheriff Court, Perrie pled guilty to the offences.

One of the most appalling images showed the non-medical circumcision of a boy estimated at six to seven years old.

Sheriff Stein said: "The court has heard lengthy descriptions of 420,000 videos and images of unimaginable evil and depravity. ....

[If an image of the circumcision of a boy is "appalling" and "unimaginable evil and depravity", what do you call actually doing it?

This story also hints at the dark side of the motivation of circumcisors.]



Barneombudet* Critical of Circumcision of Boys

*Children's Ombudsman - an official appointed by the Cabinet, whose sole responsibility is to act as protector of children. S/he can take up whatever cause or plight interests him or her with respect to children in Norway.

26 June 2003: Trond Waage, the Barneombudet, asks the Minister of Health for a report (official statement of position) re circumcision of boys. The Barneombudet is of the opinion that such practices must cease at all public hospitals [practically ALL hospitals in Norway are public] if the practice is harmful to the health of the child.

Norwegian law has absorbed ("internalized") the U.N. Convention of [the Rights of] the Child, and thus we must terminate traditional practices which are harmful to the health of the child, says Waage. Today Norwegian hospitals are obliged [directed] by Norwegian governmental authorities to perform circumcision of boys of Muslim or Jewish background.

Irreversible [surgical] Operation
The Barneombudet emphasizes that the (surgical) operation is irreversible and points out that circumcision of boys is presently being debated both in Norway and internationally. The [Norwegian] Council on Medical Ethics stated in 2001 that ritual circumcision of boys is not compatible with important medical-ethical principles, that such [operation] is of no medical utility and should not be paid for with public funds. The American Children Doctors (Pediatric) Society's official view is that the medical utility of such operations are not of sufficient magnitude that they would recommend that all boys be circumcised. The operation is presently imposed on children who cannot give their assent. The medical and psychological harm of this operation is presently being discussed amongst (health) professionals.

Has Dysfunctional Consequences
City Councilman Athar Ali, Red Election Alliance (RV - far leftist party), in Oslo has earlier engaged himself for the introduction of circumcision at Ullevål Hospital (the largest hospital, public, in Oslo).
- I have never heard that circumcision might have health dysfunctions, he says. Gynecologist Inger Marlene Hære at the Women's Clinic of the Central Hospital in Rogaland (Western region of Norway, in which Stavanger is the principal city) is, however. of another opinion.
- We know that circumcision of boys produces medical complications. Among other things one will feel less during sexual intercourse. Foreskin is meant to protect the penis, yet it is removed by circumcision. This causes the child to become more susceptible to open sores, bleeding and infections, she says.

She is of the opinion that circumcision is an assault on children.
- Why do this incision on boys when it is forbidden by law against girls? The operation should be postponed until the boys are grown enough to be able to decide for themselves, ventures Hære.

Illegal Practices
Ali has on the other hand heard that the operations might induce complication if done at an adult age. He moreover fears that an illegal market for such operations might bloom if hospitals remove this option (from their services).
- This is a tradition that many Muslims and Jews wish to uphold. An operation would probably cost somewhere between 3.000-4.000 kroner (about $US500) to do privately. Thus I am afraid that many might seek out non-competent [practitioners] for a cheaper operation. Then authorities might lose perspective (knowledge of what's going on), says Ali.

Waage, the Barneombudet, is aware of this risk,but demands even so a thorough (governmental) report (equivalent to a White Paper) setting forth the basis (the arguments and premises upon which such practices are presently based) for allowing the circumcision of boys in Norway before he will reach his own final conclusion.


Le Monde

French human rights law would outlaw circumcision

An uproar has arisen over the wearing of Muslim headscarves in French schools. Michel Orcel contrasts that with the silence on male circumcision.

The Veil and Circumcision

Michel Orcel

Although it is much less of a mutilation than excision, ritual circumcision is still an elective amputation done on a subject who cannot resist mentally or physically...

Article 16-3 of the Civil Code is perfectly clear on this point:

"The physical integrity of a person cannot be violated except in cases of medical necessity. The consent of the person must be obtained beforehand except in cases where the person's condition necessitates a therapeutic intervention to which the person is incapable of giving consent..."

We can see even more clearly the stupidity or bad faith of a dispute over headscarves, when we consider that for over two centuries we have tolerated a cultural and/or religious mutilation that serves no therapeutic purpose....

If a new "religion" (comparable in scope, say, to Scientology [TM]) one day commanded its followers to cut off their infants' earlobes, that bit of insensitive and useless skin at the bottom of the ear, people everywhere would be screaming at the top of their lungs and the courts would be jammed with lawsuits...

This example is not so far-fetched when we consider the Raëliens who already claim to have cloned a human being...

While launching a frontal attack on the wearing of headscarves, the secular and democratic French Republic is turning a blind eye to other practices which--though invisible and non-proselytizing--are nonetheless mutilations that are clearly illegal and subject to prosecution...

Something to think about.

Full text in French:


Botched circumcision: surgeon sent to jail

October 23 2003 at 04:47AM
The Star

     By Madoda Dyonana

A traditional surgeon has been jailed for carrying out a botched and unauthorised circumcision.

Eastern Cape Health Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said on Wednesday that Mphathiseni Mduka, 23, was found guilty of circumcising an 18-year-old youth although he was not registered with the health department and did not have the permission of the youth's parents.

The circumcision was botched and the youth had to be taken to hospital and re-circumcised.

Mduka was sentenced in the Engcobo Magistrate's Court to 12 months' imprisonment or a fine of R2 000. He was unable to pay the fine and will remain behind bars.

'This initiate was observed as mentally disturbed'
Eastern Cape Health MEC Dr Bevan Goqwana said: "The sentencing of Mduka sends a clear message that the government will not tolerate any contravention of the [C]ircumcision [A]ct in the province."

Kupelo said it was the first conviction since the passing two years ago of the Application of Health Standards in Traditional Circumcision Act.

Mduka was one of nine traditional surgeons arrested in June after 21 initiates died and 16 had to undergo amputations as a result of botched circumcisions, said Kupelo.

The 18-year-old youth had been admitted to All Saints Hospital in Engcobo after complaining about a severe headache.

"This initiate was observed as mentally disturbed and was an incomplete- circumcision case," Kupelo said.

  • This article was originally published on page 5 of The Star on October 23, 2003



Circumcision case man cleared

A teacher accused of deceiving mothers into allowing him to circumcise their sons, has been cleared on a judge's orders.

Omunnakwe Amechi, 53, allegedly quoted a false "aura" of medical expertise with business cards, receipts and the title "Doctor" from a chemistry Ph.D.

As a result parents trustingly handed over £100 to carry out "unsafe and harmful" sitting room surgery, it was claimed.

Mark Wyeth, prosecuting, told London's Woolwich Crown Court that in February and July last year two youngsters, aged 14 and 19 months, were left bleeding profusely, and required both follow-up transfusions and corrective surgery in hospital.

But Amechi, of Goldsmith Street, Peckham, south London, who has been circumcising young boys since 1995, denied any wrongdoing.

Pointing out the law did not require circumcisers to be medically qualified, he said he had never once sought to give the impression that he was.

Judge Shirley Anwyl QC then interrupted his evidence to say she had decided to back early defence submissions that there was no case to answer on two counts of obtaining property by deception - a reference to the fees he charged.

Mr. Wyeth told the court that in view of her decision he would offer no evidence against either of those charges or two allegations of unlawful wounding which Amechi had also denied.

The jury was then formally directed to return not guilty verdicts on all counts.

Mr. Wyeth, however, went on to announce that he would be writing to the new Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken MacDonald, on the advisability of properly regulating the practice of circumcision.

Story filed: 18:15 Thursday 30th October 2003

Earlier story:

October 22, 2003

Circumcision 'doctor' denies wounding boys

A man circumcised two baby boys in their mothers' front rooms after leading them to believe he was a medical doctor, a court heard.

Omunnakwe Amechi, 53, would turn up at houses smartly dressed and carrying a doctor's kit bag, Woolwich Crown Court was told.

But his doctorate was a PhD in chemistry, which was to do with the workings of rats' brains, and he had no formal medical qualifications.

Mr Amechi, of Goldsmith Street, Peckham, south-east London, denies two charges of unlawful wounding [yet non-doctors do circumcise boys: but if he is convicted, this will establish that circumcision is "wounding" - which it obviously is] and two deception charges.

Prosecutor Mark Wyeth told the court two boys, aged 14 months and 19 months, lost a lot of blood and needed transfusions and corrective surgery after being circumcised by Mr Amechi.

Mistaken belief

He said Mr Amechi used business cards, receipts and the title "doctor" given for his PhD to create a false impression of medical expertise.

"The defendant, by his conduct, induced in the mothers of these children the mistaken belief that he was medically qualified," he said.

"If he hadn't induced that state of belief neither would have consented to their sons being circumcised by this man."

The court heard Mr Amechi had been regularly circumcising young boys since 1995.

His business spread by word of mouth although he had no surgery or office.

But his business cards, which bore the title doctor, a phone number and a list of qualifications failed to clarify his non-medical status or give his home address, the prosecutor said.

He added there was no formal rules governing circumcision and it was not regulated by the General Medical Council or anyone else.

But those who performed surgery had to be "very clear about their qualifications, very clear about their training and need to be capable of carrying it

out to a high and safe standard," said Mr Wyeth.

The trial continues.


Museveni Threatens to Ban Circumcision

New Vision (Kampala [Uganda])
October 14, 2003
Posted to the web October 14, 2003

Nathan Etengu

President Yoweri Museveni has threatened to stop the cultural practice of circumcision, which he said had endangered the lives of youths through the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Museveni was on Sunday evening addressing youth leaders from the 10 eastern districts during a workshop on HIV/AIDS.

"If necessary, we can stop circumcision. I do not care about losing votes. I cannot look for votes from people who may die tomorrow after getting infected during the circumcision rituals," Museveni said.

The workshop, organised under the "Presidential Initiative on aids Strategy for Communicating with Young People, was held at Mbale secondary school.

More than 1,000 youth leaders from Kaberamaido, Soroti, Katakwi, Kumi, Busia, Tororo, Kapchorwa, Pallisa, Mbale and Sironko attended the workshop organised by the youth desk in State House and the Uganda Aids Commission.

Resource persons at the workshop included the former Big Brother Africa (BBA) housemate, Gaetano Kaggwa Juuko, and presidential advisers, Moses Byaruhanga and Dr. Jesse Kagimba, a senior presidential advisor on HIV/AIDS.

Museveni said he could be prompted to organise medically qualified personnel to carry out public circumcision to protect interests of the community where it was practiced.

He directed officials from the Uganda Aids Commission and those from the Aids control Programme to attend the circumcision ceremonies to identify dangers that it posed.

Museveni said circumcision in Bugisu and Sebei was a danger to the candidates since some 'surgeons' did not sterilise their knives in a medical manner.

Museveni added that he might be forced to avail doctors to carry out the circumcision, provided it was done in a clinical manner.

Cut boys catch Antibiotic-resistant Staph.

Mysterious Crop of Staph
Newborns, moms infected after stay at St. Catherine's

By Roni Rabin

October 9, 2003

Two newborns developed antibiotic-resistant staph infections just days after being born [and circumcised] at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown in August, and their mothers also were infected, state Health Department officials have confirmed.

Another baby born at St. Catherine also was diagnosed with Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, just weeks after his birth May 23, his mother, Kelley Gould of St. James, said. St. Catherine officials said through a spokesman that there was no evidence Gould's infection originated in the hospital.

MRSA doesn't respond to widely used penicillin-related antibiotics. It usually develops in critically ill patients or nursing home residents who have had multiple courses of antibiotics, and is rare in newborns. It can cause serious life-threatening infections, especially if it spreads to vulnerable patients and gets into surgical wounds.


Meanwhile, questions remained about why the hospital waited 10 days to report the first infections to the state, whether it closed the affected nursery in order to disinfect it, whether its internal investigation ever determined the source of the infections, and what steps were taken after the third and fourth infections were identified. Yesterday, Kenny retracted an earlier statement saying the hospital had identified one of the four infected patients as the source of the infections. He said instead that the hospital's investigation of the source was inconclusive. But he said the hospital acted appropriately to contain the infections, even though the cases were not reported to the state until Aug. 21, 10 days after the first two cases were identified Aug. 11.

"Aggressive steps were taken to contain it and there have been no additional cases since then," Kenny said. ...Michele Werner, also of St. James, whose baby, Brody, was infected four days after his birth on Aug. 7 and who herself tested positive for MRSA, insisted the nursery her son slept in was not closed down. "I only left on the 12th and I was there on the 13th. ... Both Nurseries A and B were packed with babies," she said. "They told me they cleaned them overnight."

When Werner returned home, she was shocked to learn that her friend's baby, born two months earlier at St. Catherine, had also picked up a resistant staph infection. The friend, Kelley Gould, said she found out her baby, Kevin, born May 23, was infected when she took him to the pediatrician two weeks after coming home from the hospital for what she thought was a diaper rash.

Gould and Werner believe the infection wasn't noticed earlier because Gould and her baby were in the hospital for only two days. Werner, who had a Caesarean section, had been kept in the hospital for five days.

But Werner had an even bigger surprise recently when she was shopping at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove and struck up a conversation with a third mother, whose baby was about the same age as her son. She soon discovered that the baby, born Aug. 14 in St. Catherine, also developed an antibiotic-resistant staph infection in the hospital.

"That's when I started worrying that they were trying to keep everything quiet and weren't taking care of it," said Werner, who reported her son's infection to the state. "You try to do everything you can to have a healthy baby, and then this happens. ... I would hate for this to happen to another baby."

All of the infected babies were boys who were circumcised at the hospital, though their infections were not in the wounds but on the skin on different parts of their bodies, their mothers said. They were all treated with Clindamycin, a powerful antibiotic, and as a result may face an increased risk of incurring additional antibiotic-resistant infections, the mothers said.

Medical experts said the infections underscore the larger global problem of proliferation of antibiotic resistance, which has been fueled by inappropriate use of antibiotic agents. Resistant staph bacteria also can cause serious infections such as pneumonia and life-threatening blood infections.


Copyright © 2003, Newsday, Inc.


Another Non-random HIV Correlation

Press release

Circumcision Reduces Risk Of Contracting HIV, Study Suggests

SAN DIEGO, October 9, 2003 - Uncircumcised men are at 8 times the risk of being infected with HIV-1 compared with those who are circumcised, according to a large study of Indian men [no, the study does not generalise from these men to all men], which is being presented at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA).  


  • Circumcised men have an 8-fold reduction in risk of being infected with HIV-1, compared to uncircumcised men, according to a large study of Indian men.
  • The findings from the study support a biological explanation for the protective effect of circumcision rather than an effect due to differences in sexual risk behaviors.
  • Worldwide circumcision rates vary widely, depending on religion and culture; about two-thirds of American male infants are circumcised.

Circumcision involves removal of the foreskin, which covers [no, is] the tip of the penis, and typically is performed shortly after birth. In the United States, approximately two-thirds of male infants are circumcised annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worldwide, the rates vary widely, depending on culture and religion: in many countries, including India, circumcision is uncommon.

Results of the study being presented at IDSA suggest that removal of the foreskin is biologically protective against HIV infection, but not as protective against other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The inner surface of the foreskin doesn't have the same protective layer as the outside, and is potentially more vulnerable to HIV, researchers say.

"It's important that we offer measures to help curb the spread of AIDS, particularly in developing countries, where it continues to grow at an alarming rate," said Steven J. Reynolds, M.D., M.P.H., post-doctoral fellow in the division of infectious diseases at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and a study investigator. "Condoms are protective, but they still are not being used consistently in some settings. This study suggests that circumcision, where safe and culturally acceptable, may offer the developing world another tactic in combating the spread of HIV." ["And therefore Carthage must be destroyed"]

Researchers also studied the risk of other STDs - including syphilis, gonorrhea and genital herpes - among circumcised and uncircumcised men. Although the incidence of the STDs was slightly higher among uncircumcised men compared to circumcised men, the difference was not statistically significant in this study, said Dr. Reynolds. This was in contrast to the reduced risk of HIV among circumcised men, which was highly statistically significant.

The research was part of a larger study investigating risk factors for HIV-1 infection based on men attending one of three STD clinics in Pune, India.
[So most if not all of these men were presenting with an STD. That skews the sample away from all men.]
Between 1993 and 2000, 2,298 men who tested negative for HIV-1 were enrolled in the study. During subsequent visits (an average of three visits in 11 months), 2 of 191 men who were circumcised
[That's 1.04%. This study can not be called "large" when a crucial segment is so small.]
and 165 of 2,107 who were uncircumcised
[that's 7.8%]
tested positive for HIV.
[One fewer circumcised man becoming HIV+ would double the ratio to 16. One more would reduce it to 5. If 14 circumcised men had contracted HIV, there would be no difference. That's a huge statistical burden to place on a few men. This study is further analysed on another page. ]
There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 is far more prevalent worldwide than HIV-2.

Demographics, sexual risk behaviors (including having sex with a prostitute), and condom use were remarkably similar between both groups, said Dr. Reynolds.
[How many of the intact men were Muslim? Probably none. How many of the circumcised men were Hindu or Sikh? Probably few or none. This means behaviours like alcohol use, polygamy and ritual cleaning would have been very different for the two groups.]
Despite the similarity in risk profiles, researchers determined the incidence rate of HIV-1 among circumcised men it was 0.7 percent, whereas among uncircumcised men it was 5.5 percent, an 8-fold increase.
[If the "incidence rate" is per year and the study lasted only 11 months, this means they extrapolated, further increasing the inaccuracy.]

The findings suggest the benefit of circumcision may be biological rather than due to other factors, such as infection with another STD, or differences in behavior between circumcised and uncircumcised men, said Dr. Reynolds. The inner surface of the foreskin is not as thickly "keratinized" as the outside or other surfaces of the penis, meaning it has less of a protective layer and may be more easily penetrated by HIV, he said. It also has higher numbers of the cells that HIV infects, possibly contributing to the reduced risk of HIV infection observed when the foreskin is removed.

There are other potential methods uncircumcised men may be able to use to protect themselves against HIV, said Dr. Reynolds. In the future, a topical microbicide product might be applied to the foreskin before sex to protect against HIV. Such products are currently in development, said Dr. Reynolds.

Circumcision isn't totally protective and may not be culturally acceptable or safe in some settings,
[and may very well lead to circumcised men having more unsafe sex]
so regular condom use is still the best way of protecting against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, said Dr. Reynolds. Condom promotion remains a key strategy in the current fight against the spread of AIDS, he said.

"Circumcision as a potential prevention strategy requires confirmation by randomized clinical trials, which are the gold standard in evaluating medical interventions," he said. There currently are clinical trials underway in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.

Co-authors of a paper on the topic being presented by Dr. Reynolds are Mary E. Shepherd, Arun R. Risbud, Raman R. Gangakhedkar, Ronald S. Brookmeyer,Anand D. Divekar, Sanjay M. Mehendale and Robert C. Bollinger.

IDSA is an organization of physicians, scientists and other health care professionals dedicated to promoting human health through excellence in infectious diseases research, education, prevention and patient care. Housed within IDSA is the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), which represents more than 2,600 physicians, scientists and other health professionals who work on the frontline of HIV treatment, prevention, education and research. IDSA, which has 7,000 members, was founded in 1963 and is headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

#  #   #

Copies of 2003 IDSA news releases are available online at

Editor's note: Study numbers are current as of Sept. 29 and may change upon presentation at the IDSA Annual Meeting.    

Media Contact: Julie Semancik or Sonja Sorrel 312/558-1770

A Cochrane Review of HIV-circumcision studies finds:

"Despite the positive results of a number of observational studies, there are not yet sufficient grounds to conclude that male circumcision, as a preventive strategy for HIV infection, does more good than harm. "

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