Failure to Circumcise Men "May Have Cost Millions of AIDS Deaths"
July 7, 2009
Years of failing to translate into practice the results of research showing the protective effects of male circumcision may have cost "millions of lives," especially in Africa, say AIDS experts. Properly performed, the procedure can reduce the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission by up to 60 percent, studies have shown.
"If you had a trial that showed a vaccine had a 75 percent success rate, you wouldn't hesitate to get it into production," said Daniel Halperin, a Harvard Medical School public health professor and former US government HIV prevention advisor.
"Epidemiologists come across some evidence, and then decide the public is too stupid to be trusted with it," said Elizabeth Pisani, a former UNAIDS epidemiologist. "Essentially it was thought that if people knew that circumcision made sex safer, they would not bother to use condoms. We didn't want to distract them."
"There's been a failure of global health institutions," said Professor Francis Plummer, who led the Nairobi research team that studied the male sex-worker clients in the 1980s. "It's a frustration I've lived with for a very long time."
The Guardian (London)
07.05.2009; Alex Renton
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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