Thursday, February 10, 2011

Circumcision Safe Sex and Condoms

I have been involved in health education for over 35yrs , and in that time have I taught the Safe Sex message.  Now, in the desperate attempt to revive the dying practice of infant circumcision, Pro-Circumcision Propaganda is undoing the importannce of that safe sex message!

There is a very dangerous public health message circulating = "that circumcision prevents HIV".  This is a false statement which may lead to an increase in unsafe sex behaviours with less use of condoms.  A circumcised penis is made of human skin, has an exposed meatus, has vulnerabilities around the circumcision scar, and does provide entry for HIV & STI's.  The USA with the highest circumcision rate in the western world also has the highest rates of HIV and STI's in the western world.  Condoms work because they are a barrier method and block viral entry to HIV, circumcision is a reduction method and it fails, it removes some entry points but leaves many other vital entry points for viral entry, you'd have to reduce the whole penis to eliminate all viral entry sites.

Medical professionals such as myself have been educating about safe sex behaviours and the importance of using condoms, for more than 35 years now, and it would be tragic if this message that falsely claims circumcision prevents HIV (Predominantly used by ProCirc Propagandists to revive the dying practice of infant circumcision) led to the undoing of the safe sex behaviours message.

Some History: In the early 1980’s when the HIV AIDS epidemic emerged in Australia it was a disease found predominantly among homosexual men, who came from an era when most Australian men were circumcised.  I then worked for a state health department and some in the medical community wanted to blame anal intercourse and homosexuals for the epidemic (Yes doctors have prejudice too), but some of us pointed out that data from Africa showed it was a heterosexual disease over there.  Further research and investigation and in co-operation with the homo-sexual community, we found that unsafe-sex behaviours were the primary cause of the disease in Australia.  Behavioural analyses found high levels of sexual promiscuity within the community, along with lack of condom use. Given this and a recognition by the homosexual community that the highly promiscuous behavious within the community which included, a culture of a high number of sex partners, virtually non-existant condom use, led to a major behaviour change.  Education campaigns targeted these behaviours within the community, the community began to change its behaviour, and new HIV infections dropped dramatically.  This Australian model has been used for HIV infection control around the world, = education and behavioural solutions work.

Today, some unscrupulous scientists and medical professionals are now blaming the male foreskin for the HIV epidemic and advocating universal circumcision to combat the problem.  The problem with this false claim, as with the earlier biases against homosexual men, is that the cause of the HIV problem is behavioural, too many sex partners and unprotected/unsafe sex.  The other relevant issue is that many circumcised men all over the world are also infected with HIV proving circumcision doesnt work (But that this is minimized by the Procirc propaganda machine).  The solution to the problem today, as with the early 1980’s epidemic = is education and behaviour change.  Solutions include, Educating people, Promoting having sex within a committed relationship with an uninfected partner, and for those that do engage in sex with multiple sex partners, to always practice safe sex behaviours and wear a condom.

The obsession with promoting infant circumcision is undoing 30yrs of safe sex messages, and is dangerous to our public health.  Dont let this Happen!!!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Bravo for sharing your advocacy and information on circumcision in infants and on safe sex ! Hope to see more helpful posts.