Saturday, February 24, 2007

Circumcision can prevent AIDS?

A total of 2,784 HIV-negative, uncircumcised men aged 18-24 years for two years living in an area where an estimated 26 percent of uncircumcised men are infected with HIV by age 25 were studied over a period of two years. Out of the total, 1,393 volunteered to be circumcised. Over the two year period, their health was monitored and all received free HIV testing and counseling, medical care, tests and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, condoms and behavioral risk counseling during periodic assessments. 47 of the 1,391 uncircumcised men contracted HIV during the two-year study, compared with 22 of the 1,393 circumcised men.

Circumcised men may feel like they are protected from HIV and may be therefore more likely to engage in risky behavior.

As much as this is good information, the results can be misleading. No details are mentioned of how the 69 (47 + 22) men may have contracted HIV. There is no explicit mention, but i guess the assumption is made that all men had the same frequency of/exposure to sexual activity or infected needles or blood transfusions. I hope that is not the case because that is an incredibly stupid assumption. How can 2,784 men exhibit similiar behaviour in areas as vague as these? Some may have been sexually less promiscuous or less frequent in their exposure to needles or blood transfusions, unless their regular patterns of behaviour were controllably restricted or augmented to provide some uniformity to the sample under study.

We like to hear whatever is pleasing to the ears, and see only that which is a sight to behold. However, reality does not always conform to our standards of beauty and brilliance. Reality is what it is, and not what we would want it to be. Hence it is imperative that with issues of HIV and AIDS that are a serious concern for our generation and those that will follow, a lot of effort to ensure myths do not get propagated based on hearsay is taken.

Study Author Robert Bailey clarifies "Circumcision is by no means a natural condom"

Here is the link to the article about the study


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