|Circumcision and AIDS|
Circumcision and AIDSNew York Times, April 5, 2007
Letter to the Editor
Re “W.H.O. Urges Circumcision to Reduce Spread of AIDS”
To the Editor:
Male circumcision may not be brain surgery, but that does not mean that it is simple to provide safely in countries with weak public health services.
I just returned from South Africa, where health clinics are desperately short of skilled personnel, especially in the urban and rural communities with a high prevalence of H.I.V. and AIDS. As countries decide whether to add male circumcision to their prevention mix, they must carefully weigh their capacity to provide it properly.
Another worry is the fact that men should abstain from sex for at least four weeks after the surgery. This seems highly unlikely in the conditions I have observed, in southern Africa and elsewhere.
We must remember that this intervention in itself will do nothing to change the harmful behavior patterns—unprotected sex, coercion and violence—that are putting people, especially women, at risk.
Originally published in the New York Times, April 5, 2007. Reprinted with permission.