Sunday, February 11, 2007

Carte Blanche agrees - circumcision lowers risk of HIV transmission...

Aha. Carte Blanche agrees - circumcision can almost HALVE your risk of contracting HIV. Yet no-one believed us when we said it... The show is playing currently, but they should have the backup research studies on their site soon.

Jury out? There are some telling articles on the net. Try this one.

It used to be called the unkindest cut. But now the head of the one of the world's largest Aids charities believes we are on the brink of a revolution in attitudes to circumcision.

Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said research revealing the protective effect of circumcision against HIV was set to change parental expectations and medical practice across the world. Instead of viewing the operation as an assault on the male sex, it was increasingly being seen as a lifesaving procedure which every parent would want for their sons.

Removing the foreskin is thought to harden the glans (head) of the penis, making it less permeable to viruses. Research conducted in 2005 showed the transmission of HIV from women to men during sex was reduced by 60 per cent if the men were circumcised.

A study published last month calculated that if all men in sub-Saharan Africa were circumcised, it would prevent almost six million new cases of HIV infection and save three million lives over the next 20 years.

This is no longer only a choice issue. It is now a health issue. Six million potential lives say so.

PS. They also stated, on national television, at last, that HIV prevalency in upper class South Africa is on the rise. Certain commentors from our previous HIV article - take heed.


SA Doc said...

Just a quick comment. Carte Blanche do REALLY responsible journalism. Circumcision is not a cure-all, it's a trend showing up in studies. My favourite bit:

"If sex is like driving, circumcision is like wearing a seat belt."

Well put.

Champagne Heathen said...

Most people in the HIV world have been very pleased about the circumcision research study that happened in Orange Farm, but are being cautious until we have received the results of the two follow up studies in Uganda & Kenya.

The one factor that COULD play against this finding is that all the men who participated in the study were given AIDS Awareness talks and info and access to condoms beforehand, so to keep the study within ethical lines. One could question whether then they actually were protected because of consequential informed behvaiour.

However, from my very basic medical/ biology understanding, a lack of foreskin means much less of a chance of STIs being able to infect the man - STIs being a top factor in the transmission of HIV, as they break the skin and so allow HIV to access the blood stream etc. As well as lessing the ability of HIV itself to hide under skin folds & access the body.

I also loved their analogy to circumcision being a seat belt! As this info gets out, we just have to be VERY careful to make people aware that it is not a means of protection & complete prevention.