Brazil says no to circumcision

10922551.jpgA recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that the practice of circumcision could be effective in preventing the transmission of HIV. Reacting to these findings, the technical advisor for the Brazilian Health Ministry says that her country will not begin practicing circumcisions due to what she considers misleading information:

“I find the recommendations of the WHO and U.N. HIV/AIDS program a little surprising and even frightening,” Simao told Agencia Brasil.

…This proposal gives a message of “false protection” because men might think that being circumcized means that they can have sex without condoms without any risk, which “is untrue”, she said.


Simao also says that the study only showed that circumcision was effective in combating transmission from women to men, and that there is no data which shows a decrease in transmission of HIV in gay men. She also stated that she fears that funds currently dedicated to other forms of prevention and treatment might be redirected to circumcision.

It’s interesting that Brazil would speak out publicly on this issue, because, according to Spain’s 20 Minutos, the report’s findings only apply to “countries in which more than 15% of the population is infected”, and Brazil doesn’t fit that description, nor does any other Latin American country.

Via / 20 Minutos

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5 comments on “Brazil says no to circumcision
  1. In general I’m against circumcisions because I haven’t read convincing evidence in any study that support it having health benefits. The issue is actually a pretty controversial one and many people feel that the medical profession promotes it because it “looks” cleaner and because it is a staple when they help birth baby boys.

  2. Finally, some sanity in the discussion. And juist in time. The BJU International [formerly the British Journal of Urology] just published a study from California that unequivocally shows that the foreskin is the most sensitive part of the penis. See the comment at http://www.doctorsopposingcircumcision.org. Guess normal anatomy is valued in Brazil! Cutting off normal body parts is a poor way to prevent voluntarily contracted sexually transmitted diseases of any sort. And its particularly wrong when its done to helpless babies for questionable “medical” reasons.

  3. CONGRATULATIONS!! to Brazil for blazing a trail of enlightenment through the fog of US propaganda. The whole world should copy the Brazilian model for dealing with an HIV epidemic, they have they got their own under control, using public health methods which pay no lip service to US hegemony.

    Genital Mutilation should play no part in prevention of anything, since there are obviously other, more effective, ways of doing it, such as education, condoms and treatment availability to everyone who needs it.

    The World Health Organisation, sadly, have produced misinformation about circumcision that was disproved long ago, the HIV studies that this recommendation are based on are unreliable at best, having been cut short and allowed to run over too short a timescale to gain any meaningful long term information.

    Having read the studies and knowing the background of the researchers I do NOT believe that circumcision is going to provide any public health benefit to the population of African countries at all, on the contrary, I think it is going to cause a disaster on an unprecedented scale as men will think they are protected and will not use condoms – this can already be seen to be happening in the USA where mothers are convinced their sons will be protected if their foreskins have been cut off. Plus, desperately needed funds will be diverted from other programmes to carry out this mass mutilation.

    The desperation of Americans to promote and impose this archaic mutilation they are so fond of is abhorrent to all civilised people, Kudos once again to the Brazilians for rejecting it!

  4. The September 2006 issue of the respected “Journal of AIDS” reports on the first scientific study of African men to consider post-sex hygiene practices in addition to circumcision as risk-prevention practices.

    Conducted under the auspices of King K. Holmes, M.D., Ph.D., perhaps the dean of STD studies in the U.S.A., this groundbreaking African study found that post-sex hygiene independently helped to reduce the risk of HIV infections.

    None of the three studies of male circumcision in African men responsible for WHO and UNAIDS deciding to add this practice to its roster of recommended prevention practices considered post-sex hygiene as a possible confounding variable.

    None of the researchers responsible for these three studies specified whether post-sex hygiene was included in the advice about “safe sex” they gave to their study participants.

    Hence no one knows to what extent these WHO and UNAIDS endorsed study findings and recommendations are flawed in the most fundamental of ways.

    The content of this article does this little to reassure people in the know. “We must be clear”, she said, “male circumcision does not provide complete protection against HIV. Men and women who consider male circumcision as an HIV preventive method must continue to use other forms of protection such as male and female condoms, delaying sexual debut and reducing the number of sexual partners.”

    Twenty-five years after this pandemic got its name, theoldest known approach to reducing risk of all STDS — using soap and water to wash involved genitals after sex — remains overlooked as a technique for reducing risk of HIV infections.

    Have any of the involved scientists and public-health officials, or any of those who follow their work, ever heard of Occam’s Razor?

  5. Brazil clearly knows what the U.S. does not know — or chooses to ignore:

    1. The USA has the highest rate of routine circumcision in the industrialized world — AND the highest rate of HIV infection in the industrialized world. Why would the U.S. fund the study of a “prophylaxis” that has not prevented more than a half-million American AIDS deaths?

    2. Many of the highest rates of infection in Africa are in nations where circumcision is even more prevalent than in the U.S. (e.g., Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Ivory Coast, Gabon). Conversely, the nations with the LOWEST rates of HIV in the world are those where circumcision is quite rare: Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries.

    3. Circumcision campaigns presume (and promote) unprotected penetration. The U.S. withholds funding from HIV-prevention programmes that do not endorse abstinence as a first line of defense (arguing that to do otherwise teaches promiscuity) — yet has no problem advocating a surgical measure that effectively authorizes reckless sexual behaviour with multiple partners. Epic hypocrisy!

    4. Women are already the group hardest-hit by AIDS; what defense will young women have to argue for their own protection against newly-circumcised men who insist (with doctors’ support) they are a low HIV risk? Epic misogyny!

    5. Promoting adult circumcision in the developing world assumes that “native” populations are unable or unwilling to comprehend and implement established safer-sex precautions. Americans deem that literally minimizing the penises of millions of men trumps far more effective health-education measures: iinherently racist, and the worst sort of medical & cultural imperialism!

    6. A simple fact: the advocates of circumcision are themselves foreskin-less. They don’t know what they’re missing, so they can’t understand why any man would object to prepuce amputation any more than one would object to a haircut. Would any doctor who advocates circumcision volunteer to have 15 square inches of tissue removed from his/her own body as a gesture of solidarity…?

    7. What man, having lost one half of his penis’ surface area, including close to one-third of its nerve endings, would choose to further desensitize sex with a latex barrier? Circumcision MUST not be regarded as a substitute for safer sex; it will, in fact, give rise to much more UNsafe sex and consequent HIV infection.

    8. The foreskin is not “flypaper” for disease. HIV prevention must target behaviours and practices, not anatomy. There is a medical defense for teaching safer sex; there is a medical defense for distributing condoms; there is a medical defense for inexpensive HIV testing, treatment & counselling — there is NO medical defense for circumcision.

    Brazil: lead the way! Push back! Reject this Medieval chicanery! Say yes to safe sex; say no to circumcision!

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