With the help of an ombudsman, Ronald Goldman, Ph.D. submitted an article to Times Live, a newspaper of Zambia in Africa. The article questioned the claim that circumcision reduces HIV transmission and described the sexual and psychological harm. HIV protection is the primary argument that is being used to promote adult circumcision to tens of millions of African men. American researchers and money support this misguided and tragic effort.
The newspaper had offered 400 words. The submitted article was 400 words. The published article was 232 words, a reduction of 42%. Deleted information included a link with more details, the influence of money on promoting circumcision, a description of the foreskin, and consequences of losing it.
The full submitted article is below. The deleted text is in brown colored font.
Circumcision HIV claim is false, sexual and psychological harms are real replaced with “Circumcision is not a life-saver”
Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., Executive Director, Circumcision Resource Center
Many professionals disagree with the claim that adult male circumcision reduces the risk of men acquiring HIV. Unfortunately, African media often do not publish this view. Here’s a summary with more details at http://www.circumcision.org/hiv.htm.
Methods used in the HIV studies were flawed. For example, the HIV status of female partners of men in the studies was unknown. Consequently, which infections were heterosexually transmitted and the effect of circumcision on HIV transmission could not truly be determined. Most African HIV infections are transmitted by contaminated injections and surgical procedures.
Even if the claim were true, based on these studies about 60 men had to be circumcised to prevent one HIV infection. Furthermore, the complication rate for an African clinical circumcision is 18%.
Researcher bias influenced results. Lead researchers of the studies are known circumcision advocates. Research careers, reputations, and associated funding depended on producing studies with positive results.
The studies were not consistent with other evidence. African national population surveys in eight countries found a higher rate of HIV infection among circumcised men compared to men who were not circumcised. Seventeen observational studies found no benefit from circumcision in reducing HIV transmission.
Condoms are 99% effective, much less invasive, and much less costly. Significantly, the studies recommend the use of condoms in addition to circumcision. With the superior effectiveness of condoms, circumcision adds negligible additional protection. Condoms also protect women.
International AIDS experts and profiteers have the financial power to force their lucrative agendas on Africa. “In the fight against AIDS, profiteering has trumped prevention. AIDS is no longer simply a disease; it has become a multibillion-dollar industry,” stated Sam Ruteikara, co-chair of Uganda’s National AIDS-Prevention Committee. The WHO decision to support circumcision was controlled by circumcision advocates who prevented open debate.
The foreskin protects the head of the penis, enhances sexual pleasure, and facilitates intercourse. It is about one-third of the erogenous tissue on the adult penile shaft, approximately 75 square centimeters. Circumcision removes several kinds of specialized nerves and results in thickening and progressive desensitization of the penile head, particularly in older men.
Men circumcised as adults reported decreased sexual enjoyment after circumcision. One described it as like seeing in black and white compared to seeing in color. Psychological consequences include anger, shame, distrust, and sexual anxieties. In a survey of those with comparative sexual experience, women preferred the natural penis over the circumcised penis by 6 to 1.