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Commentary & Opinion

Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision a "Critical Pillar" in Fight Against HIV/AIDS, Says U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator

June 5, 2013

In "the 12th blog in a series of blogs from the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator in recognition of the 10th anniversary of PEPFAR," Ambassador Eric Goosby, head of the U.S. State Department's Office of Global Health Diplomacy and the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, writes in the Huffington Post's "The Big Push" blog, "When it comes to HIV/AIDS, men have an extraordinary opportunity to reduce their risk of HIV infection by almost 60 percent by undergoing voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC)." He continues, "This one-time health intervention has the potential to save millions of lives and billions of dollars in HIV/AIDS treatment costs," noting, "Modeling studies predict that the benefits of male circumcision are likely to be most significant in populations with high prevalence of primarily heterosexually driven HIV and low rates of male circumcision."

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See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Doug H (rural MN) Tue., Jul. 9, 2013 at 9:33 am EDT
If female circumcision is mutilation, then so is male circumcision. Cutting off body parts should NEVER be encouraged. Too many botched jobs. I don't know who else is pissed that they never had a chance to say "no," this. Proliferation of this attitude will only reinforce in parents' minds that this is something they must have done to their newborns. Aren't we a little beyond this by now?
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Comment by: Dr Prince Kanjakwa (Zimbabwe) Thu., Jun. 6, 2013 at 6:12 pm EDT
These results need to be analsyed critically because of many variables like age, previous sexual behavior, hx of injuries or blood transfusions etc
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Comment by: Marcus (Brisbane) Thu., Jun. 6, 2013 at 6:08 pm EDT
If you cut off the entire penis, you'd reach 100%.

I think these policies are the wrong approach.
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Comment by: Dave R (Amsterdam) Thu., Jun. 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm EDT
I'm sorry but we need proper evidence for statements such as these. When a sentence in an HIV document begins with "Modeling studies predict ..." it generally means nothing more than vague assumptions based on shaky grounds (it's a 'prediction' after all). If there can be a 60% reduction in risk for circumcised men then one would assume that very many more uncircumcised men have contracted HIV than those who have been circumcised. That's patently not true. There is evidence of the virus having easier access via the skin under the foreskin but it's not conclusive and cleanliness and good hygiene negate that risk. It's a politically correct, rolling snowball these days to promote circumcision as a means to avoid transmission but until the evidence is conclusive, "Modeling studies predict ..." seems to be the best we can do.
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