Thursday, July 28, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO: Democracy Hits A Brick Wall

I wasn't holding my breath. I knew that some way or another, the effort to ban circumcision in San Francisco would not succeed... but I wasn't expecting it to end like this...

It appears a judge has expressed intention to strike down the measure to ban circumcision that activists worked so hard to get on the ballot.

Quoth Superior Court Judge Loretta Giorgi: "It serves no legitimate purpose to allow a measure whose invalidity can be determined as a matter of law to remain on the ballot."

According to Giorgi, California law makes regulating medical procedures a function of the state, not cities. However, her ruling is based on a dubious premise; that both ritual and routine circumcision are medical procedures. She also demonstrates a real or feigned ignorance; the proposed law makes an exemption for necessary medical procedures.

What's not being mentioned is the fact that the law Giorgi cites was enstated to allow vets to declaw cats. Animal rights activists were making headway passing laws that would keep vets from reaping profit from this, another medically unnecessary procedure.

Aren't kids special? They're about as important as your pet.

I'm not fooling myself. I know that this law didn't have a chance. As a matter of fact, in an earlier post, I expressed that I didn't think the ban would, nor SHOULD pass, because America is not ready for a ban on circumcision. Still, it would have been nice to see the measure given due democratic process, and put before the people for them to vote on. The people would have voted and the ban would have not passed by a majority vote. That's usually the way democracy is supposed to work, right?

Remember Proposition 8? Proposition 8 was deemed unconstitutional. It was deemed unconstitutional. And yet when this is challenged, when human rights activists ask judges to repeal the law, religious right-wing groups get technical and talk about "the voice of the people." Judges should not repeal, they said, what the people have voted on. Well, where are advocates for "the voice of the people" now? What would have been the reaction if gay rights activists had struck down the measure before it even got to the ballot? I could only imagine the outcry. The outrage. "BLASPHEMY!" They would cry. "THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE!!!"

Circumcision advocates are mistaken though, if they think that it ends here. Oh no. This is far from over. Consider this; religious groups blocking the democratic process didn't stop New York from legalizing gay marriage. It's a matter of time, and the conservative right-wingers are going to fight tooth and nail to protect their right to mutilate boys (but not girls?) in the so-called name of "religion" and "parental rights." But as cases such as the one in New York demonstrate, legally blocking democracy proves nothing. Today, African Americans are free, women can vote, and, at least in a few states, gays can marry.

As intactivists, we have made strides, and we've come a long way; things are much, much different than when we first began in the 70s. As we persevere, we move closer to our goal. The forced genital mutilation of boys has its advocates, and they will fight tooth and nail for their cause. But past injustices also their advocates who fought with much effort for their cause. In the end, justice prevailed and their efforts did not prosper. Perhaps not today, perhaps not in San Francisco, but one of these days, justice WILL prevail, and boys WILL get the same constitutional protection as girls.

I conclude with my usual bottom line:
The foreskin is not a birth defect. Neither is it a congenital deformity or genital anomaly akin to a 6th finger or a cleft. Neither is it a medical condition like a ruptured appendix or diseased gall bladder. Neither is it a dead part of the body, like the umbilical cord, hair, or fingernails. The foreskin is normal, natural, healthy tissue with which all boys are born.

Unless there is a medical or clinical indication, the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting individuals is a deliberate wound; it is the destruction of normal, healthy tissue, the permanent disfigurement of normal, healthy organs, and by very definition, infant genital mutilation, and a violation of the most basic of human rights.

Doctors have absolutely no business performing surgery in healthy, non-consenting individuals, much less giving their parents any kind of "choice."

May one day boys in this country enjoy the same protection under the law as girls.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Ghost of Mogen

Advocates of circumcision always minimize circumcision to "just a little snip with little to no risks." They always say "there are no risks, and if there are, they're worth it." When you present them examples of circumcisions gone wrong, they will always say "Oh, well that's just a once in a million case. Circumcision mishaps don't ever happen when a professional does it." Well, in this blog post I'm going to talk about a very real risk that circumcision advocates may not tell you about. The following circumcision mishap is one that is so common that there have already been numerous court cases; glans amputation.

In a very recent case, a judge approved a $4.6 million settlement on a behalf of a boy who lost the head of his penis in a botched circumcision attempt. The doctor who performed the circumcision used a Mogen clamp, a device notorious for glans amputations, even when used by professionals. So notorious is the Mogen clamp for glans amputations that the company that makes this device went out of business last year, because it couldn't afford the $11 million dollar lawsuit filed against it, after a mohel severed the end of another baby's glans using one of their clamps. A year after Mogen goes out of business, we are still hearing of the damage their clamp is causing.

The peculiar thing about Mogen is that until the very end, they claimed that injury was impossible with the use of their clamp, even after other glans amputations were reported. The injury behind a prior lawsuit at Fulton County Superior Court had already put Mogen on notice about the danger of the device. In a different case, at South Fulton Medical Center, another law suit was won in 2009. In that case, a child lost a third of his glans, and the plaintiffs were awarded 2.3 million dollars.

I'm afraid that this may not be the last we hear of Mogen glans amputations yet. Despite going out of business in America, and despite its notoriety for glans amputations, Mogen clamps are being used in a pilot project to have male children circumcised at birth under the pretext of HIV prevention in Kenya. They are currently being used in Rwanda to circumcise newborns under the pretext of "HIV prevention." In light of the fact that newborn children aren't at risk for sexually transmitted HIV, and in light of the fact that there are already better, more effective, less invasive modes of prevention, how is taking this risk conscionable?

Until the next apparition of  Mogen's ghost... *sigh*

UPDATE (added 7/28/2011):
It utterly infuriates me that the WHO has been effectively pissing in our mouths and calling it rain... "Circumcision would only be offered to consenting adults," they promised. Well why in the hell have they approved circumcision devices for infant male circumcision? Given what I presnt above, why have they approved MOGEN of all torture devices? What in the world are these people THINKING??? GEEZ. Pisses me off.

SWAZILAND: American Government Sinks to New Low

It seems our American goverment is going to stop at nothing to try and normalize circumcision in Swaziland. As if the Soka Uncobe "mass circumcision" campaign weren't enough, they've turned to celebrity endorsement by employing a football team and even a less than influential king to try and "breathe life" into the campaign. (The Soka Uncobe campaign is turning out to be a big flop, and the Swaziland ministry of health and American officials don't know why the men aren't rushing to have their organs mutilated.)

And now, it seems, the American government is turning to art to try and "inspire" the men of Swaziland to get circumcised. According to the Swazi Observer, an artist has chosen "Male Circumcision and Life!" Wow. Really? A foreskin is a life-threatening medical condition? I'm going to go through and disect the disgusting article.

"One of the hallmarks of expression in society is art."

The author is already trying to sound lofty and "artistic." Yes, one of the hallmarks of expression in society is art, but this isn't saying much; cavemen were engaging in artistic expression long before civilization as we know it existed. One can still find said pieces of art in caves.

"Stories put a human face on the important work that we do- making it come to life, appealing to emotion while showcasing talent and expressing passion about our work."

An artistic blurb that I'm not even sure is supposed to mean anything. But let's move on...

"In life and art, sculptor Raymond ‘Pondai’ Mishi focuses on the positive. A spirit of hope and sense of purpose give meaning to his life and find expression in his art."

More meaningless twaddle I think the author hoped would sound elloquent and "artistic" to his or her readers. What does any of this have to do with artistic expression? I think most people find some sort of meaning to their lives. Otherwise they lose hope and commit suicide. There has got to be some underlying message in all of this. Wait for it... here it comes...

Consider the sculpture he created for a special art exhibit, IndzabaYetfu, hosted by the United States government to commemorate HIV prevention efforts in the Kingdom of Swaziland."

Yes! Let's consider it! What "efforts" could the United States government POSSIBLY be "commemorating..."

"Raymond shared his skills, talent and expertise in designing a 200 centimetres tall sculpture made entirely from recycled medical instruments- between 2 000 and 3 000 sterilised forceps that had been used to perform medical male circumcision, an HIV prevention intervention that is underway in Swaziland."

Bingo. Oh how "artistic."

"It took him just one week to do it. The theme for the art is 2011 60% Safer Avenue symbolic of male and female genitalia but with a symbol of practising safe sex even after one is circumcised."

Because "safe sex" is simply impossible when one isn't circumcised?

The elongated upper torso is the penis with foreskin and the red light should be the one exposed after a man is circumcised."

More artistic use of the English language? This author is truly gifted. I'm guessing there are two penises depicted? One circumcised and one not?

"The curly middle part signifies the public area of the art work and the two legs embrace the sculpture and could be both the male’s legs wearing blue socks and also the woman’s hands embracing his partner and encouraging him to circumcise and heal the family."

What's wrong? Is the family sick? How does a father having normal genitals make his family "sick?" What if the man doesn't want to get circumcised but instead practice monogamy and faithfulness? Should a woman not encourage this? How absolutely insane.

"When asked how he feels about his artwork, Raymond was quick to say he was excited to have learnt something new and innovative."

An artistic answer to an artistic question. How is Raymond SUPPOSED to feel about his artwork? Absolutely ashamed I'm sure. He is asked about how he feels about his artwork, and he responds by telling of something "new" and "innovative" he just learned. His artwork seems to be a secondary thought. Let's see what comes first...

"I knew I wanted to do a sculpture without affecting the environment negatively using welding tools,” says Raymond, a native of Zimbabwe who lived and worked in Mozambique before settling in Swaziland."

Hrm. A non-Swazi... peculiar...

"Welding can sometimes cause more harm and instead, I used a solution queue bond which attaches metal pieces together and it sticks in two seconds… My design was born! I am proud to introduce a new art form. Take it up! Every single pair (of surgical scissors) has been in contact with the flesh, the artifacts have been in contact with life itself”. His life affirming message to young men is abstinence, the most important key to a safe and healthy life."

This is something new. It reads like cheese and chalk; you can see both this sculptor and author are working hard together to force two unrelated things to mix. The author is interested in "not causing harm"; so he employs materials that were used to destroy normal, healthy human tissue. What this has to do with "affirming life" is beyond me. If abstinence is the most important key to a safe and healthy life, where do circumcision tools come into the picture?

"It is good to be circumcised; it’s hygienic and if you decide on having sex make sure you protect yourself using a condom correctly and consistently. Sex is part of life and culture but we shouldn’t perish” he says."

What a strange, sad conglomeration of the English language. What a grotesque verbal sculpture. It's possible to practice safe sex without the use of a condom? Sex is a part of life and culture, but it is not necessary to be circumcised to practice good hygiene and safe sex. Not one thing has to do with the other. What a horrible attempt to mix two completely unrelated things.

Scientific evidence confirms that male circumcision reduces the risk of the acquisition of HIV by men by sixty percent (60%)."

Scientific evidence does no such thing. The "researchers" asserting this 60% figure have yet to furnish the evidence that circumcision indeed reduces the risk of HIV transmission. The best they can do is present statistics that don't correlate anyhere else in the world, not even in Africa.

"In addition, a circumcised penis is also easy to clean and is less prone to some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cancer of the penis."

More irrelevant and unproven claims. The Americans and the Swazi ministry of health are trying to reduce the spread of HIV, not promote better hygiene or reduce cancer of the penis in Africa. It is not necessary to be circumcised to clean the penis, and a circumcision does not prevent the transmission of STIs. Circumcision fails at preventing STIs so much that the authors of these so-called "studies" and the promoters of circumcision themselves cannot stress the use of condoms enough. Circumcision is worthless.

"Now it is my turn. I am ready to circumcise! I have made a personal choice to do so”.

I wonder whom he is going to circumcise? And I wonder if the person he is circumcising has made that personal choice himself? I can only guess that this person is talking about himself. If he wants to become circumcised, more power to him. I only wonder if he is actually going for the cut, and not just merely saying so because the American Government paid him money to say these words for this promotional article. Who knows? The man isn't even Swazi and already is circumcised and is pretending he is not for this propaganda piece.

I question any person in these pro-circumcision articles; how many have actually undergone the cut? How many are speaking because they got PEPFAR money to be part of a promotional ad? How many were already circumcised prior in their own culture?

"Raymond first learnt about medical male circumcision when he met the Soka Uncobe team from Jhpiego, a global health non-profit organisation and affiliate of John Hopkins University that is working in more than 50 countries to prevent the needless deaths of women and their families."

Preventing the needless deaths of women and their families? Or promoting the needless genital mutilation of men and their children? By now it should be obvious what this article is; a promotional advertisment for a mass genital mutilation campaign that is failing to produce the desired results. Raymond is but another celebrity that has been hired to promote circumcision; who knows if the man already belongs to a circumcising culture, if he is not and he'll actually go for the cut or, like the Swazi king, paying lipservice to a benefactor of so-called "humanitarian aid."

"In Swaziland Jhpiego is part of the consortium of organisations implementing the Accelerated Saturation Initiative on male circumcision dubbed Soka Uncobe which means ‘circumcise and conquer’. The organisation also works with professionals, governments and community leaders to provide high quality health care for their people."

(If you can call genital mutilation in lieu of more effective, less invasive modes of prevention "high quality health care.")

"The owner of Yebo Art Gallery Mr. Peter ‘Senzenjani’ Armstrong encouraged Swazi parents to allow their children to study art as a subject in school in order to inculcate their desire and love for art. “Whatever your desire on wish it can be achieved through art expression” he says."

Let's just see if PEPFAR and the Swazi ministry of health achieve their desires and wishes through this disgusting piece of work.

I am absolutely disgusted at this disgraceful use of art. The use of art. To try and elevate and beautify genital mutilation. There are somethings that no matter how hard you try, you just can't make "beautiful."

Making a sculpture out of glass shards or rusty blades used in female circumcision would not make female genital mutilation any more acceptable. Not even if you used scissors, scalpels or other tools that doctors use to carry out the procedure in a sterile, clinical setting.

What a sick disgusting shame that my government is sinking this low to try and get Africans to accept genital mutilation. Absolute coersion and harrassment. All in the name of "humanitarian aid."When does this madness end?

If you think the promotion of circumcision as HIV prevention is a waste of our tax dollars, get a hold of PEPFAR and let them know. There is a page for this on Facebook:

Pepfar is a waste of American Tax Dollars

To any Swazi men or other men being coerced to undergo circumcision by local campaigns in Africa, I've got something to tell to you; circumcision doesn't prevent anything. Never has, never will. I'm afraid your governments have come to depend on sick benefactors who care about nothing more than mutilating your bodies and the bodies of your children for aid. You're at the mercy of corrupt government leaders who have sold your foreskins for so-called "humanitarian aid." You lose part of your genitals and they line their pockets. And you're still no better protected.

I'm here to tell you, you don't have to get circumcised to prevent HIV. Circumcision does not, cannot prevent you from getting sexually transmitted HIV. Only condoms provide true protection. When nurses and doctors ask you if you've circumcised yourself or your children, tell them it's none of their business. Tell them that you're educated enough to learn how to take a shower. Tell them that you are faithful to your wife. Tell them you want an alternative.Tell them you want an HIV prevention method that does not require cutting off part of your genitals and the genitals of their children. Tell them thanks, but no thanks. Demand the respect and dignity you deserve. You are human beings, not animals.

Do you have a Facebook account? Would you like to know what Soka Uncobe isn't telling you? Do you want to avoid AIDS but don't want to get circumcised? Find us on Facebook! Log on and click on the following link:

You Can Conquer Without Circumcision: Say NO to "Soka Uncobe"

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Tribute to Van Lewis

First Love
by Van Lewis 
(Original work can be found here.)

You must have been insane,
     you bloody madman,
         to steal my brand new body
              from my stupid mother's bed,
                  and lay me on your cold, hard table,

You must have been insane
     to rope my baby body down,
         and rip my virgin foreskin off,
              to rape my battered butchered glans -
                  me screaming bloody murder
at your sickness-driven hands!

You must have been insane
     to rub my little penis with your bloody Betadine,
         then come at my erection
              with your knife,
                  to try and make me sick as you
for life!

You must have been insane
     to cut my body's best,
         to chop my ridged band sex nerves off
             and throw them in the trash,
                  and leave me here to die but half a man:
To kill my body's deepest love, was that your diabolic plan?

Rape? Rape?! This is not rape!!
     I'd far prefer rape!
         There is no word for what you did to me!
              Inflict on me the ancient curse of the Jew?
                  And what, pray hell, do you think I'd do
to you?

God damn your putrid madness, you dead man!
     God send down your mad vomit straight to hell!
         May devil Satan make a feast upon it,
              and sicken from your bloody, rotten gore,
                  and die in holy hell

Some lovers, we, you mad M.D.,
     bound for all eternity!
         You bloody butcher madman! Penis parasite!
              Still lost upon your lonely way?
                  Pathogenic whore! Some trick!
         Still cutting boy fillet?
              Psychopathic fraud! Still sick?
You're still insane today?

Rest in peace, Van Lewis.

Friday, July 22, 2011

When All Else Fails, Hire a Sports Team

It must be a tough job being a circumcision promoter... You're paid to convince a quota of men to have part of their penises cut off "for their own good," and for whatever "mysterious" reason, only a small fraction of the men you're expected to convince trickle in. You've tried music, you've tried, movies, you've tried coercion, you've tried harassment, you've tried taunting their masculinity, and nothing seems to work! You've got a quota that a paycheck from PEPFAR or Bill Gates depends on, the year is almost over and you've barely got a tenth of your goal. What to do? Hire a football team!

Nothing is more effective in brainwashing people, er, I mean properly educating them about HIV transmission and the full range of their options than celebrity endorsement. The celebrity isn't even required to be an actual user of the product advertised, just as long as their name and face is on it is enough. PEPFAR and Bill Gates say they'll flip the bill so it's all covered. The men should be jumping in line to have part of their penises cut off! If they don't, if all else fails, you can always re-launch your campaign and get the king to endorse it. After all, what's more influential than a king nobody really listens to?

Yes, it looks like the ministry of health in Botswana has taken the lead of Swaziland's ministry of health and they have finally gotten their own football team to endorse their very own campaign. It was very recently reported that men in Botswana were "mysteriously" not taking the circumcision bait, and that they were 88% behind in their quota. If this fails, Botswana's ministry of health's next move would be to hire a local king. (If they can find one that is influential and leads by example; the Swazi king has many wives and is not even circumcised himself!)

What I'd like to know is how many of the athletes that are endorsing this campaign actually went through with their circumcisions. It's very easy to to lie for money. Celebrities endorse products they never use all the time. The Swazi king has endorsed circumcision, but he has yet to announce his own. The story in Mmegi's latest article almost sounds believable, except for the part about the operation taking 5 minutes. Is this story even true? Or was his athlete paid to lie? It would be interesting to ask for these men to drop their pants to see if they're lying or not. There's not a doubt in my mind that some of the very organizers of these so-called "mass circumcision campaigns" would never put their money where their penises are.

Sooner or later the circumcision/HIV hoax will blow over. These so-called "studies" are going to explode into the scientific scandal of the century, and the WHO, UNAIDS, PEPFAR, Bill Gates etc., will all have to bear responsibility for bankrolling miseducation campaigns, and the genital mutilation of thousands of men and children across Africa in the name of "humanitarian aid."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

BOTSWANA: Men Shunning Circumcision a "Mistery"

A few blog posts ago, I expose how the PEPFAR backed Soka Uncobe campaign is having trouble getting off the ground. Such a failure the campaign has been so far that organizers have tried boosting the campaign with a football team and endorsement from the king himself.

It looks like, however, Swaziland is not the only country where men aren't swallowing the circumcision/HIV pill. According to Mmegi, in Botswana, only 14,000 of 467,000 targeted men (12%) have stepped forward since the program began last year.

In the words of Principal public relations officer at the ministry of health Temba Sibanda, that a large portion of the targeted group is not coming forth for circumcision is a "mystery."

A "mistery?" Really? Has the ministry of health not considered that perhaps these men aren't too keen on getting part of their penises cut off? Even with perceived "benefits?"

Have "mass circumcision campaign" organizers ever considered the possibility that some men may never agree to get circumcised? That some men treasure their bodies and would prefer an alternative? What alternatives do circumcision campaign organizers have ready for such men? Or was prefering to stay intact simply not supposed to be an option?

The Soka Uncobe campaign has tried to appeal to Swazi masculinity by employing the imagery of women, and asking women to "support" men who go in for circumcisions. But does that same "support" go for the men who would rather learn proper hygiene and the proper usage of condoms?

That is a question that needs to be put to these knife-happy pro-mutilators. What if despite all the efforts, the men would prefer an alternative to circumcision? Do they have that scenario in mind? Do they have education packages as part of these "mass circumcision campaigns" for men who do not want to be circumcised in place? Or are they simply not going to offer these men that option?

The priorities of so-called humanitarian aid organizations come ever into view; what is the true end-game? Is it truly the prevention of HIV transmission? Or is it the acceptance and proliferation of a controversial surgical procedure?

New "Studies" Give Ongoing Circumcision Campaigns a "Boost"

So recently the International AIDS Society held their yearly conference in Rome, Italy. As usual, circumcision advocates are out in full force promoting genital mutilation as HIV prevention. The usual suspects usually tout three famous "RCTs" and talk about how "successful" their "mass circumcision campaigns" are becoming, with more and more men getting circumcised, and communities "embracing" circumcision as a method of HIV prevention. This year, though, it's a bit different.

Perhaps fearing that the big "RCTs" have become lackluster, the usual circumcision advocates have decided to give a "boost" to their mass circumcision initiatives by injecting "new studies" into their mix of "evidence." I've already discussed the "boost in sex" that circumcision is supposed to give in my last blog post. In retrospect, I'm not exactly how "new" this "information" is; circumcision advocates have been trying to argue that circumcision is not sexually damaging, even "improving" it for years. But now, "new studies" report, not a "60% decrease in HIV transmission," but get this, a whopping 76%! Wow. Really?

I think it all becomes clear when you look behind who came up with these numbers. The new figure is the result of a "study" headed by none other than, according to a Bloomberg article, Bertran Auvert, the same man who headed one of the first big three African "RCTs." (Incidentally, the British medical journal The Lancet refused to publish Auvert's first big study, they didn't say why.) Auvert has been trying to correlate a lowered risk in HIV transmission with circumcision since at least 2003. He is good friends with Bill Gates, another avid circumcision promoter, and his last big "study" was funded by none other than the American National Institutes of Health. (Where doctors have vested interest in seeing the practice of circumcision, particularly infant circumcision continue.) It must be pointed out that none of the "new studies" presented at the IAS conference have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

What I'd like to know is how Auvert managed to come up with that incredible 76% figure. What did he do differently this time, and does he seriously expect the world to believe this number? Let's take a short look through time at the slow but sure increase of this number. According to Yahoo news article:

"In 2006, trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa found foreskin removal more than halved men's risk of infection by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Longer-term analysis found the benefit to be even greater than thought, with a risk reduction of around 60 percent."

And now that number is at 76%! I'm guessing that by 2016 that figure will be a full 100%?

Numbers sound real good on paper, but what I'd like to know is, if circumcision is so "effective" at "reducing the risk of HIV transmission," why isn't the 60%, and now 76% figure manifesting itself in real world situations where there is already a prevalence of circumcised men? Why arent these figures true outside of these so-called "trials?"

The rest of the Yahoo article is almost a complete verbatim repeat of the iafrica article I critique in my last blog post. Maybe iafrica and Yahoo are affiliates?

The Yahoo article does end with a word of caution by France's 2008 Nobel laureate Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, who in 1983 co-identified HIV as the source of AIDS;

"...over-confidence in circumcision [is] a major anxiety... Nothing provides 100-percent protection, not even a vaccine... Let's stop thinking that one preventative tool is enough. Circumcision has to be part of a combined approach."

She's mistaken though. We need to stop thinking that circumcision can actually be forced into the HIV prevention equation. Presenting circumcision confuses the message that people need to be engaging in safer sex, watching who they sleep with and employing the use of condoms.

It is a mistake to promote a dubious alternative
to the most effective method of HIV prevention known to us.

Back to the Bloomberg article, the same old debunked myths keep getting repeated:

"Circumcision is the surgical removal of a skin that covers the tip of the penis."

Actually, no, it's more than just skin; circumcision is the removal of an entire fold of flesh laden with blood vessels and nerves.

"Studies have shown the pocket between the foreskin and the tip of the penis gives viruses and bacteria a spot to grow, and circumcision eliminates it."

This is a reference to the penile microbiome study, which comes to an irrelevant conclusion; although it does show that there is a change in the penile microbiome after circumcision, it fails to demonstrate how circumcision prevents HIV. The authors present another hypothesis they must prove; that a change in the microbiome of the penis does indeed result in a reduced risk of HIV.

 "The foreskin has been shown to be rich in cells that carry HIV into the body."

The Langerhans cells. Which, contrary to what is stated here, have been shown to be a natural barrier to HIV.

It ends with a very disconcerting note by Centre for HIV and AIDS Prevention Studies program manager Dirk Taljaard:

"It’s really quite simple as an intervention... it’s not something that you’re trying to get somebody to do every day of his life."

It is NOT simple. Circumcision is cutting off part of a person's penis. It is a permanent alteration to normal male anatomy, and a man has to deal with it every day of his life, whether he likes the resulting product or not. And it sounds like Dirk Taljaard intends on circumcising men and just forget about them afterwards.

Wearing a condom; it's something a man has to do every time he has sex with an untested stranger if he wants any real protection from HIV transmission. What an absolutely irresponsible thing for anybody to say.

The Call
I've had enough of all this circumcision study nonsense crap. Using "study" to legitimize mass genital mutilation has reached some ridiculous proportions. 76%? 76! Am I seriously supposed to believe this? How far does Auvert seriously think he can fool people? Who's checking this crap? Who's checking to make sure everything presented has been peer reviewed? Are IAS conferences the ultimate venue to spew unmitigated garbage? Is the AIDS situation that much hopeless in Africa that no idea is too stupid to try?

What would be the reaction of people present at these IAS conferences would that somebody actually presented a "study" that showed a "reduced risk in HIV transmission" in women who have undergone labiaplasties? What would people think if somebody actually presented the madness that we need to remove the labia of as many people as possible? How would Auvert be viewed if he were bragging that his efforts were successful in "increasing the percentage of circumcised women" in a given area? Would he be welcomed or would he be openly shamed? What if he spewed that magical 76% number?

There are some things that are simply always wrong no matter how much "study" you try to veil it with. There has got to be something wrong with "researchers" who seek to necessitate a surgical procedure on healthy individuals. "Studies" that begin with a surgical procedure as a solution a priori have got to be the most logically flawed studies in existence. Where is the voice of reason in all of this? How can people suddenly pretend like circumcision isn't this historically controversial religious ritual that "scientists" have been trying to legitimize with a pseudo-medical alibi for over a century? When does the madness stop?

I think it's about time people concerned with basic human rights demanded an investigation behind all this circumcision "study." Real world data simply does not add up. Circumcision isn't this "simple" procedure. If it were really this "simple snip" then there wouldn't be so much opposition. Circumcision is radical surgery; it is a permanent alteration. It is cutting off part of a person's penis. Instead of focusing on necessitating it, real scientists should be working to render it obsolete. WHY are "researchers" like Auvert allowed to spew their madness? Who is checking his work? Who is double-checking the work of all these circumcision "researchers" to make sure it's all legit? It is disconcerting that this crap actually goes unchallenged.

It's about time we got together and demanded an investigation. Investigate the "researchers." Those at the WHO who endorsed these so-called "studies." Those institutions funding "mass circumcision campaigns." WHO ARE these people? What conflicts of interest are they failing to declare? Is it really people who are interested in the reduction of HIV transmission? Or is it the same old folks trying to vindicate an age-old religious ritual steeped in controversy?

Let's just say for the sake of argument that all of the "study" is true. Who is researching alternatives? By when can we expect circumcision to be phased out? Is there a future in sight where people can protect themselves from HIV transmission without having to cut off part of their penises? Are there any researchers working to this end? Or is everybody interested in finding more uses for circumcision? Who are the researchers responsible for seeking to find alternatives to circumcision? I want to know! I want to know why nobody's talking about NOT circumcising at these so-called AIDS conferences!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Genital Mutilation "Boosts" Sex

Would you ever take vegetarian advice from a butcher? How about smoking advice from a tobacco company executive? Would you believe the butcher if he told you that "studies showed" that eating meat is "healthier" than eating vegetables? Would you believe a tobacco executive if he told you that his brand of cigarettes "improves breathing?"

Sound too good to be true? Well, here we have circumcision "researchers" that want to circumcise the whole of Africa that have come out with "studies" that say that circumcision actually "boost" sex. According to this iafrica article:

"Researchers at the University of Makerere in Uganda interviewed 316 men, average age 22, who had been circumcised between February and September 2009.

A month after the operation, 82.3 percent said they were very satisfied with the operation and 17.7 percent said they were satisfied.

A year after the operation, 220 of the volunteers said they were sexually active, of whom a quarter said they used condoms.

A total of 87.7 percent said they found it easier to reach an orgasm after being circumcised, and 92.3 percent said they experienced more sexual pleasure.

Nine out of 10 said they were happy with how their penis looked — and more than 95.4 percent said they believed their partner was also satisfied with its appearance.

The data was presented by researchers in a poster session at the four-day conference in Rome on scientific and medical aspects of the world's HIV/Aids pandemic.

It updates previous findings that circumcised men found greater sexual enjoyment, thus easing one of the mental barriers to the campaign."

There are quite a few problems with these "studies," beginning with the fact that they were written by the very people who want to see "mass circumcision campaigns" rolled out across Africa. How can we be sure they're not presenting cherry-picked data that shows only favorable results? But the biggest problem is that a year is too short to measure anything. Most men who are unhappy with their circumcisions were circumcised from birth; let's visit these men 20 or so years down the line, when keritinization has really set in. I doubt that we'll ever hear from these men again.

And what exactly do these "surveys" really mean? What does "satisfied" and "very satisfied" mean? How is "satisfaction" and "sexual pleasure" measured? Can we really trust self reports from men who were told that circumcision has all of these "benefits?" Can we really trust that "researchers" who want to "ease mental barriers" to circumcision are reporting everything accurately? Men can talk all they want, but the Sorrells study, which measures sensitivity on various points of the anatomically correct and iatrogenically deficient penises shows that there is a clear difference. Circumcision removes the most sensitive parts of the penis, and it results in significant desensitization. The foreskin is laden with thousands of nerves and a network of blood vessels. It boggles the mind how "researchers" want to show with "studies" that "less is more."

"Advocates call it "surgical vaccine," describing it as a cheap, effective form of prevention."

"Advocates" are smoking crack. Nothing could be less scientific. Circumcision could not even begin to behave anything like a vaccine. A "vaccine" means that men's immune systems have been strengthened against pathogens that cause disease. When HIV invades the body, it doesn't matter that part of the penis has been cut off. It is NOT cheap, it costs millions of dollars, and that's not factoring in complications. "Effective" is not the word. Real world data shows that circumcision is anything BUT.

"Male circumcision does not reduce the risk for women who have intercourse with an HIV-infected man.

Women do get an indirect, statistical advantage, though. The fewer men who are infected with HIV, the lesser the risk to women."

How any respectable source can manage to put these two sentences together, one right after the other, is absolutely mind boggling. These claims are based on the dubious premise that circumcision does indeed "reduce the risk" for HIV. They also seem to be counting on Africans never using condoms. Even assuming the claims were true, the bottom line is circumcision offers women zero protection. Condoms protect BOTH sexes from sexually transmitted HIV 95%. And somehow proliferating a weaker alternative to this is advantageous because...?

"The theory behind the effectiveness of circumcision is that the inner foreskin is an easy entry point for HIV. It is rich in so-called Langerhans cells, tissue that the Aids virus easily latches on to and penetrates."

One of many "theories" that has long since been debunked. The so-called RCTs, as of yet, lack a working hypothesis by the way. Scientists cannot demonstrably prove that circumcision actually reduces HIV transmission. The best they can ever do is present carefully chosen data and attribute a "lowered risk" to circumcision. (And of course, as we know, correlation always, always equals causation... ;-) )

But let's ask ourselves, what would our reaction be, would that "researchers" could "prove" using "scientific study" that female circumcision "reduced the risk of HIV transmission" in women? What if "studies" could "show" that female circumcision "reduced the risk of HIV transmission" by, oh, say, 60%? What would we think if the WHO ever approved of such "study?" Because there are actually "studies" that show a "lowered risk," here, here, and here.

Some may say that these "studies" are "not enough." To which I would have to ask, would there ever be enough "study" to legitimize female genital mutilation? What amount of "benefit" would ever convince you to circumcise your daughters at birth? What would you think if "scientists" took it upon themselves to run an experiment where 1000 women were circumcised just to see if it made a difference in HIV transmission? What would you think if the "researchers" stopped the studies early because they saw a "reduced risk," and then circumcised the control group because not doing so would be "unethical?" Would you not think it strange that these "researchers" basically made it impossible to follow up on their own "study?" What would you think if such a half-assed "study" were then used by the WHO to endorse "mass female circumcision campaigns?"

Some may say that female circumcision causes "harm." That it "destroys a woman's ability to orgasm." However, "studies show" that even women who have undergone infibulation, which is the worst kind of female genital cutting, are still able to orgasm. You can see studies here and here. A recent article in Africa came out addressing this same point here.

But here this blog posts originally came in; what if "studies" could show that female circumcision could actually "boost" sexuality? Would that change your mind? Would it "ease" your "mental barriers" to the idea of female circumcision?

Actually, "studies show" that female circumcision, nicely euphemised as "labiaplasty" here, can actually increase sexual satisfaction for both the woman and her partner.

From the above link:
- The study found an overall satisfaction rate of 97.2% for women undergoing labiaplasty and clitoral hood reduction
- An overall satisfaction rate of 83% in women having a vaginal tightening procedure (vaginoplasty/perineoplasty), and 91.2% for women combining both “outer” and “inner” work
- Sexual satisfaction with 92.8% of women having both experienced improvement in their sexual satisfaction
- The data also revealed that those women undergoing vaginal tightening (vaginoplasty) reported an estimated 82.2% overall improvement in their partner’s sexual satisfaction as well.

Since this information is provided by doctors who stand to gain from "labiaplasties," I'm sure the information they present is completely objective and unbiased. ;-)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Swazi King: "Better You Than Me"

So in my last post, I suspected that Soka Uncobe organizers were growing desperate. There had been reports that in spite of all the hype, the campaign wasn't having the desired impact. Laws are on the table to make circumcision compulsory, organizers have resorted to using the influence of celebrity endorsement, and recently the Soka Uncobe project was supposed to be "re-launched" with the Swazi king's endorsement.

So according to Times Live, the king himself has indeed endorsed circumcision, likening HIV to a "terrorist."

At first I was very concerned that the country's monarch endorsing circumcision might actually make an impact, but then I read this and I almost died laughing!

Apparently it's not the first time the king has made some outrageous remarks; a decade ago he posited that HIV-positive people should all be "branded and sterilised". (Could you imagine a campaign for THAT!)

And, apparently circumcision used to be widespread in Swaziland, but the practice was abandoned in the 19th century. The king likens the return of the practice to other traditions he has revived as a response to the rampant HIV epidemic; in 2001 he required young girls to wear tassels to display their virginity and banning men from having sex with girls under 18. (When he broke his own ban by taking a 17-year-old wife, he fined himself a cow.)

While the article repeats Ambassador Irving's statement of reaching a goal of zero infections by 2020, it also points to the reality that Swaziland has a long way to go; 4 out of 10 pregnant women test HIV-positive at clinics, according to Health Minister Benedict Xaba. (Remember him?) Circumcision will not prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, and it will not cure an HIV+ child. But nevermind that, let's spend millions on circumcising the men, discouraging the use of condoms and increasing the infection of women!

Here's the strange part. While in the Swazi Observer Xaba reports that 28,000 men have been circumcised due to the campaign, the Times Live says that only 3,000 men have undergone circumcision since the massive Soka Uncobe campaign began. OK, so how many men have fallen for Soka Uncobe REALLY? With illusive numbers like these we may never know for sure.

And, it's just as I've thought. Soka Uncobe is such a failure that the organizers were hoping that the king could, in the words of Times Live, "breathe life into the campaign."

A ray of hope lies yet for those of us against this deliberate rape of Africa:

"The king still commands enormous respect, but in the rural areas near Mankayane dissatisfaction is bubbling to the surface as his subjects feel the pinch of a deepening economic crisis.

'The king has a lot of money in the bank but he can't help us. He has many women and a luxurious life. His children get an overseas education. He doesn't care about Swazis,' local Boxer Vilakazi told AFP."

'I love the king but 90 percent of youth are not working. Only those close to the king get jobs,' said 21-year-old Mthobisi Dlahla, who said he planned to go for the surgery for his own safety -- not because Mswati said so. (6 months into the campaign and he's still "planning" on it? Hrm...)

The polygamous monarch has been criticised for failing to lead by example in his kingdom, where multiple partnerships are seen as the major catalyst of the AIDS crisis.

Mswati did not say Friday whether he intended to get circumcised himself."

So not only is Soka Uncobe proving to be a big flop, but now it looks as though the organizers are so desperate that they'll even stoop as low as trying to use the endorsement of a monarch whose influence and authority is dwindling, and who can't even lead by example!

And how can we be sure that Soka Uncobe organizers are putting their money where their penises are? It would be interesting to ask them to strip for us to make sure they're leading by example. What would we find? Not even the KING is circumcised yet!

At this point I must ask, WHAT EXACTLY IS GOING ON HERE? What's REALLY going on in Africa? Are the numbers we see in the news even real? Let's strip down Callie's footballers. Were they REALLY circumcised, or were they payed PEPFAR money to give their endorsement?


Circumcision DOES NOT PREVENT HIV, and spending millions promoting as HIV prevention is not only a waste of money, because African men AREN'T BUYING IT, it's actually COSTING LIVES.

If you think the promotion of circumcision as HIV prevention is a waste of our tax dollars, get a hold of PEPFAR and let them know.

To any Swazi men or other men being coerced to undergo circumcision by local campaigns in Africa, I've got something to tell to you; circumcision doesn't prevent anything. Never has, never will. I'm afraid your governments have come to depend on sick benefactors who care about nothing more than mutilating your bodies and the bodies of your children for aid. You're at the mercy of corrupt government leaders who have sold your foreskins for so-called "humanitarian aid." You lose part of your genitals and they line their pockets. And you're still no better protected.

I'm here to tell you, you don't have to get circumcised to prevent HIV. Circumcision does not, cannot prevent you from getting sexually transmitted HIV. Only condoms provide true protection. When nurses and doctors ask you if you've circumcised yourself or your children, tell them it's none of their business. Tell them that you're educated enough to learn how to take a shower. Tell them that you are faithful to your wife. Tell them you want an alternative.Tell them you want an HIV prevention method that does not require cutting off part of your genitals and the genitals of their children. Tell them thanks, but no thanks. Demand the respect and dignity you deserve. You are human beings, not animals.

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You Can Conquer Without Circumcision: Say NO to "Soka Uncobe"

Soka Uncobe "Official Launch" - Come Again?

Right. So Swazi circumcision/HIV enthusiasts keep babbling on about Soka Uncobe, the American government's vicarious efforts to circumcise an entire nation thus creating a miniature version of America itself (in terms of 80% circumcision prevalence). The pretext for mutilating 80% of Swaziland's males is, of course, the so-called prevention of HIV, even though Swaziland was one of the African nations where HIV was more prevalent among the circumcised population.

As Table 14.10 shows, the relationship between HIV prevalence and circumcision status is not in the expected direction. Circumcised men have a slightly higher HIV infection rate than men who are not circumcised (22 percent compared with 20 percent). (p. 256)

Not to mention the fact that having a 90% prevalence of circumcised males never prevented HIV transmission in America. Not to mention that circumcision never prevented HIV anywhere else. Not to mention recent reports that the circumcision/HIV message is actually confusing the people of Africa, agravating the situation.

Despite all of the Swazi government's efforts to blow the Soka Uncobe campaign out of proportion, judging by recent reports, it seems the campaign is not having the intended effect of getting all the men to line up to be mutilated, and officials don't seem to know what else to do. So unsuccessful are efforts to circumcised everybody that even laws are being discussed to make circumcision compulsory. In a recent report by the Swazi Observer (Why don't they allow any comments by the way? Maybe they've been ordered to silence the voice of criticizm?), it looks like Soka Uncobe officials have recruited an entire football team to get circumcised and endorse the Soka Uncobe campaign. I'm wondering how much PEPFAR money was used to convince these men to submit to the cut, and how many men will need more money to pay for anti-retrovirals when they get HIV.

And now, according to the Swazi Observer, the Soka Uncobe campaign is going to undergo its "official launch." (Because it wasn't "officially launched" before?)

Here's my critique of the report:

"THE Soka Uncobe national male circumcision campaign could prevent 90 000 new HIV infections in the next decade, and save the country over E4 billion.

This was revealed by American Ambassador to Swaziland, Earl Irving during a Ministry of Health Soka Uncobe press briefing at the Mbabane Government Hospital yesterday. It was attended by Minister of Health Benedict Xaba, PS Steven Shongwe and health officials along with US Embassy staff."

Irving isn't "revealing" anything new. Circumcision/HIV enthusiasts have been touting circumcision as a "cost-effective" HIV prevention method since last decade. The 90,000  figure is based on the dubious premise that circumcision actually prevents HIV transmission 60% as per the three famous African trials. Real world data demonstrates, however, that circumcision fails to prevent HIV in the real world, not to mention the very US.

"The campaign launch by His Majesty King Mswati III will be held at Mankayane, while the roll out began in February."
Roll out first. Campaign launch AFTERwards. That should always be the order of things I'm sure.
It looks to me like just another publicity stunt. The first attempts didn't work, and it doesn't sound like they have too much faith in the football team. Perhaps getting royal endorsement might cause Swazi men to relinquish their bodies for mutilation?
"Ambassador Irving said if Swaziland would be able to meet the circumcision goals, it would take a giant step towards meeting the United Nations declaration of zero new HIV infections by 2020."
Ambassador Irving is speaking on behalf a nation who has been on a quest to legitimize the forced genital cutting of children for at least a century. There is no doubt in my mind that Irving is himself circumcised and more than happy to tout a party line that legitimizes his own circumcision status, and if he is married with children, the circumcision status of his own sons. Ambassador Irving, and the nation he represents, all have a glaringly obvious conflict of interest; the competing interests are HIV prevention, and the justification of male circumcision, especially male infant circumcision back home.
"'Since 2006, with funding from PEPFAR and others, Swaziland has been scaling up male circumcision as part of the National Strategic Framework on HIV/AIDS. The goal is to reach 80% of 15-49 year-old males with voluntary medical male circumcision...'"
If compulsory circumcision is made law, circumcision will be anything but voluntary. And the forced circumcision of minors is NOT voluntary, and a violation of basic human rights. As an American citizen, I am absolutely disgusted that the abuse of children, and the coersion of African men into having their bodies mutilated under the pretext of HIV prevention is what my tax dollars are being used for.
"'... As we prepare to have His Majesty the King officially launch the Soka Uncobe male circumcision campaign, we know that it could not come at a more opportune time."'
Officially launch? More like, officially ENDORSE. The campaign has been "launched" since February. Was this "launch" in the campaign's schedule? Or was it thrown in at the last minute because the campaign is not having its intended effect?
"...Soka Uncobe is an innovative, Cabinet- approved programme to achieve one of the major goals of the National Strategic framework on HIV/AIDS."
Circumcision, if we are to believe circumcision enthusiasts, has been around for at least two millenia, and, in the United States, for just over a century. It is anything but "innovative," and judging from real world data, nowhere near effective at preventing HIV/AIDS.

"'...From a national perspective investing in male circumcision could avert 90 000 new HIV infections. This fact alone could save over E4 billion in the next decade,' said Irving."
Notice the half-concealed qualification.

From a national perspective, HIV was found to be more prevalent among the circumcised. (See 2nd paragraph above). From a national perspective, circumcision is a waste of money and a disservice to the people, as it is sending conflicting messages.
"He said the American government supported the initiative because Swazis including the King had shown great interest in improving the local health system."

The American government "supports" the initiative because they have an interest in seeing as many men and children circumcised as possible. Circumcision is a dying trend, and it is ever being challenged at home. More than ever, the American medical industry needs to secure acquiescence of circumcision as a "prophilactic measure" against something. They've been trying to do this for over a century. This whole publicity stunt is about vindicating circumcision, particularly infant circumcision. It has ALWAYS been about that. It has absolutely nothing to do with HIV prevention. It is a shame and a disgrace that our country is pushing on Africans a "prevention measure" that never worked in our own country.

There is not a doubt in my mind that Swazis, including the king, have been told that the price for "humanitarian aid" is their endorsement of circumcision. The American circumcision lobby has hijacked PEPFAR and other humanitarian organizations, and has made it so that anybody that wants aid must agree to endorse "mass circumcision campaigns." Hence PEPFAR beneficiaries sing the praises of circumcision. Hence they show "interest." Hence "circumcision is so successful that African goverments are taking it up as a tool." Hence, circumcision has "benefits," hence doctors can keep reaping profit from performing it on non-consenting children at home. THIS is what it has always been about. The pseudo-scientific vindication of forced male genital mutilation at the expense of the poor people of Africa.
"Minister Xaba urged the public to attend the launch since it would be graced by His Majesty the King, apart from being a good initiative worth supporting."

I find it almost laughable how "being a good initiative worth supporting" is an afterthought. It is clear Xaba hopes that the king's endorsement will finally get the Soka Uncobe campaign to perk.

"'In light of the current financial challenges faced by the country, we are optimistic that the country will save millions through investing on male circumcision, hence we would urge the public to support the ministry of health by attending the launch,” said Xaba."

Translation; if men don't start lining up to be circumcised, we could lose PEPFAR aid, losing the country millions. We want the public to attend the launch so that they are ordered directly by the king to submit and be conquered by Soka Uncobe, since the campaign is such a failure.

I feel so sorry for the men of Swaziland. To be coerced on the street by strangers. To have their masculinity challenged. To be threatened with making circumcision legally compulsory. To have their sports interests exploited. And now, to be ordered by their own king.

Has anybody stopped to think, maybe perhaps the men of Swaziland DON'T WANT to be circumcised?

Has anybody stopped to think Swazi men think this idea of mass coerced circumcision is crazy?

Has anybody stopped to think the people of Swaziland want an ALTERNATIVE?

Circumcision is NOTHING like a vaccine. A vaccine strengthens the immune system against microbes that cause disease. Circumcision is cutting part of a person's penis off. It is an intentional and deliberate wound. When HIV invades the body, it does not matter whether a person is circumcised or not.

WHY are circumcision enthusiasts hell-bent on stuffing circumcision down these people's throats?

Look up "circumcision" on PubMed. Scientists are no longer looking into how exactly circumcision prevents HIV anymore. That doesn't matter. The bulk of recent circumcision "study" focuses on, get this, how they can effectively get people to accept circumcision. What's the most effective way to brainwash people. What's the most effective way to get people to submit themselves and their children to circumcision.

Did you know that no scientist can tell you how exactly circumcision prevents HIV? Did you know that outside of the famed trials, the "reduced risk of HIV transmission by 60%" fails to manifest itself? Did you know that circumcision has failed to prevent HIV in the US, of all places?

Of all the research that people could be working on, WHY is so much money being poured into circumcision???

Progress is defined by the replacement of the old with the new and better. Science is always seeking to replace itself; to make itself obsolete. Instead of seeking for alternatives to circumcision, instead of seeking ways to avoid surgical intervention, WHY are "studies" focusing on preserving, even necessitating a blood ritual that has been around for at least two millenia? "Researching" ways to necessitate surgery, and then "researching" ways on how to impose it on the most people as possible, even going as far as imposing it on healthy, non-consenting children, has got to be the most ass-backwards logic I've ever heard of.

The article continues...

"'More than 28 000 have already been circumcised since inception of the campaign which are signs that we will be able to meet the 152 000 target set for the year 2011,' said Xaba."

This sounds like 1984 newspeak.

Here's what I've managed to prevent from being tossed down the memory hole:

"The ambitious, US-funded campaign hopes to reach one in eight Swazi men, but has had disappointing results so far.

The clinic performing Mfanzile’s procedure is geared to see 80 patients a day. At best 15 trickle in - fewer than even before the campaign began in February.

Adverts urging men to “circumcise and conquer” are everywhere but organisers now admit they may not reach their targets as quickly as hoped."

"Most of the time in Swaziland, men are the decision makers. Men must be in the forefront of this battle,” said Health Minister Benedict Xaba. “It takes time for a Swazi person to accept something new; to accept change."

Let's see, it is already the middle of July, and 28,000 men have been circumcised. The goal is 152,000, and they're not even past their half-way point. But suddenly these are signs that the target will be met? I'm guessing Xaba is counting on the king's endorsement to drive the men to the circumcision clinics in throngs.

I'm wondering if PEPFAR and Swazi officials have thought about this possibility.

What if their Soka Uncobe campaign fails to circumcise 152,000 men?

What if in the end, the men of Swaziland stand up and tell their king they will not submit themselves or their children to infant genital mutilation?

What if the men told Swazi officials "we WILL not go through with this?"

What then?

What's plan B?

Well they start thinking about HIV campaigns WITHOUT circumcision THEN?

In America, circumcision is a dying trend. More and more parents are leaving their children intact, despite all of the purported "medical benefits." According to the CDC, the rate of infant circumcision is down to 33% or so, with differing rates across the country. In California, the rate is as low as 22%. This means that, circumcision is clearly being abandoned in favor of other less invasive, more effective means of disease prevention.

So what if the people of Swaziland make it clear to their government that they will not take up circumcision?

What will PEPFAR etc. do then?

Think it possible.

African people might actually get smart enough to figure it all out.

Message to the Men of Africa
To any Swazi men or other men being coerced to undergo circumcision by local campaigns in Africa, I've got something to tell to you; circumcision doesn't prevent anything. Never has, never will. I'm afraid your governments have come to depend on sick benefactors who care about nothing more than mutilating your bodies and the bodies of your children for aid. You're at the mercy of corrupt government leaders who have sold your foreskins for so-called "humanitarian aid." You lose part of your genitals and they line their pockets. And you're still no better protected.

I'm here to tell you, you don't have to get circumcised to prevent HIV. Circumcision does not, cannot prevent you from getting sexually transmitted HIV. Only condoms provide true protection. When nurses and doctors ask you if you've circumcised yourself or your children, tell them it's none of their business. Tell them that you're educated enough to learn how to take a shower. Tell them that you are faithful to your wife. Tell them you want an alternative.Tell them you want an HIV prevention method that does not require cutting off part of your genitals and the genitals of their children. Tell them thanks, but no thanks. Demand the respect and dignity you deserve. You are human beings, not animals.

Do you have a Facebook account? Would you like to know what Soka Uncobe isn't telling you? Do you want to avoid AIDS but don't want to get circumcised? Find us on Facebook! Log on and click on the following link:

You Can Conquer Without Circumcision: Say NO to "Soka Uncobe"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Soka Uncobe Ringleaders Getting a Little Desperate?

When it first came out, there was much ado about Soka Uncobe, a US backed initiative to mutilate 80% of the men and male children in Swaziland in the name of so-called "HIV prevention." (Nevermind the fact that HIV was more prevalent amongst the circumcised population there.)

The initiative had a bumpy start, as the message was confusing people, sending the message that getting circumcised meant not having to wear condoms and having sex with multiple partners. The Ministry of Health was left defending its obviously flawed campaign.

In recent bulletins, the Soka Uncobe campaign was reported to be having disappointing results. In a more recent one from the Swazi Observer, it was reported that a law to make circumcision for men compulsory was on the table.

And now, it looks like their latest tactic is to try and use celebrity endorsement by getting an entire team of soccer players to get circumcised and using this to push circumcision on influential youth. Are Soka Uncobe directors getting a bit desperate? Has PEPFAR twisted their arm and threatened to cut AIDS funds unless they see results?

"NOT only are they focused in football matters but newly promoted elite league outfit Tambankulu Callies also ‘play it safe’."

Once again, Soka Uncobe is going to risk sending a mixed message. What does "play it safe" mean? That once you're circumcised you're "safe" and don't have to wear condoms? We keep saying it, and we'll keep saying it; promoting circumcision, even if the latest "studies" were accurate, is a bad idea because it causes confusion where there needn't be. Promoting circumcision is already proving to be disastrous, resulting in confused citizens and an increased HIV rate.

"Interviewed on the developments, the team’s PRO Senzo Shabangu said they decided it was a good idea to have the team educated on how to behave themselves, especially now that they had been promoted to the elite league.

'They have been educating us on how this procedure can be of benefit to us men when it comes to health issues so we took the decision to go for it. After our nurse at the Clinic brought up this issue we decided to take up the challenge,' he said."

You really need to cut off part of somebody's penis to "educate" him? I wonder what exactly is passing as "education." I'm afraid these poor men are being hornswoggled. Are they going to interview the men that get erection problems and manage to contract HIV despite their circumcisions?

"Shabangu added that this was also meant to protect the boys just in case they were overwhelmed by fame."

You have GOT to be kidding me! I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. They seriously think this is going to make any difference! Because circumcision was already "reducing HIV" in Swaziland, right? As it has in other African countries and other countries of the world? On the other hand, this may be the key to Soka Uncobe's undoing; when the footballers start getting AIDS and giving it to their partners, I'd like to see Soka Uncobe and PEPFAR promoting the team then.

"When sought for comment on the matter, PSI’s Communications Officer Bongiwe Zwane said they were very happy with the initiative taken by the team.

"Football players are very influential in their communities so in this way more youngsters will want to be part of this procedure.

We would encourage other teams to follow suit so that we have a healthy nation,” he said."

Yes, we can see where PSI's hearts lie; they're more concerned about getting everybody circumcised than they are about actual HIV prevention. I'm wondering how long will this continue until people finally realize circumcision is a waste of money that doesn't work. It is possible to have a healthy nation WITHOUT circumcision.

How many infected men and women until we realize the money could have been better spent?

Message to the Men of Africa
To any Swazi men or other men being coerced to undergo circumcision by local campaigns in Africa, I've got something to tell to you; circumcision doesn't prevent anything. Never has, never will. I'm afraid your governments have come to depend on sick benefactors who care about nothing more than mutilating your bodies and the bodies of your children for aid. You're at the mercy of corrupt government leaders who have sold your foreskins for so-called "humanitarian aid." You lose part of your genitals and they line their pockets. And you're still no better protected.

I'm here to tell you, you don't have to get circumcised to prevent HIV. Circumcision does not, cannot prevent you from getting sexually transmitted HIV. Only condoms provide true protection. When nurses and doctors ask you if you've circumcised yourself or your children, tell them it's none of their business. Tell them that you're educated enough to learn how to take a shower. Tell them that you are faithful to your wife. Tell them you want an alternative.Tell them you want an HIV prevention method that does not require cutting off part of your genitals and the genitals of their children. Tell them thanks, but no thanks. Demand the respect and dignity you deserve. You are human beings, not animals.

Do you have a Facebook account? Would you like to know what Soka Uncobe isn't telling you? Do you want to avoid AIDS but don't want to get circumcised? Find us on Facebook! Log on and click on the following link:

You Can Conquer Without Circumcision: Say NO to "Soka Uncobe"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Beware media claims of "increasing circumcision demand"

People need to beware of claims of "increased circumcision demand" in the media. Readers may notice news reports that tell of "men are lining up to be circumcised" in Africa, but such reports may be misleading.

In at least one article by allAfrica (and I've seen many others like it), we're told about how "circumcision demand has shot up." Our attention is brought to the fact that doctors are working non-stop to circumcise the boys and men that line up. One might be lead to believe that this is because the boys or men were actually convinced by the circumcision/HIV propaganda, but closer inspection reveals that the "increase in demand" is actually due to the arrival of the circumcision season where circumcision/HIV promoters have opened up their clinics. In those areas, circumcision is already culturally engrained, and boys and men are expected to undergo circumcision. In short, the "demand" has nothing to do with an interest in HIV prevention, and it isn't actually "increasing" per se, just being diverted to circumcision/HIV "clinics."

If you read the article, the answers the boys give when asked about their motives sound like badly memorized lines. The first thing on their lips is their interest in having sex without condoms, and the fact that their parents made them line up. (We're supposed to believe that the circumcision/HIV programs in Africa are "completely voluntary."  Why, taking advantage of young, impressionable youth is not abusive in the least!) A little nudge and the interest in the HIV "counselling" comes "gushing out." (This is in the journalist's own words, not mine!)

The question is, then, are these boys here for HIV "counselling" and because they actually care about supposedly "reducing their chances" for HIV? Or are they here to cash in on a free circumcision? We hear about men "lining up" in other African countries. But how many of the men were actually convinced by the circumcision/HIV message, and how many were merely seeking an alternative to what would be a harrowing ordeal at a traditional "circumcision school?"

I think it is important for people reading these "reports" to take them in with a grain of salt. We must remember that circumcision isn't a simple walk in the park, like a vaccine; circumcision is radical surgery, which permanently removes part of a person's genitals, and isn't taken lightly by just anyone.

We must remember that circumcision/HIV advocates aren't introducing anything "new" to Africa. In many countries or regions, circumcision is already a cultural norm as a tribal rite of passage, or a requirement of Islam. Circumcision is already widely practiced in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa, for example. In countries where circumcision is already normal due to culture, men would be more willing to "line up" for a free circumcision, even if they have to pretend like they care about HIV prevention. Parents of said cultures would not hesitate to submit their male children to be circumcised; they already do. It is misleading to report "an increase in circumcision demand" at circumcision clinics placed where circumcision is already a cultural practice.

Circumcision fails to become a "demand" in countries or cultures that do not practice circumcision. Circumcision/HIV propagandists are having trouble convincing the Luo in Kenya for example, which traditionally do not circumcise, to adopt circumcision. Malawi has refused to adopt circumcision as HIV prevention policy. Despite all the hype, it looks like the Soka Uncobe ("Circumcise and Conquer") campaign in Swaziland isn't having as much of an impact as pro-circumcision American benefactors had hoped. So unsuccessful have efforts been to circumcise the men of Swaziland that laws are now on the table to make circumcision compulsory. (Note the doublethink; circumcision is supposed to be "voluntary," as the term "Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision" (VMMC) indicates.)

So when we hear about "thousands of men lining up to be circumcised," one needs to ask, how many are doing so because the men are indeed interested in circumcision as a way to "reduce the risk of HIV?" How many parents who agree to have their children circumcised actually come from cultures where circumcision is already a social requirement, and the circumcision/HIV propagandists are taking credit for this as a sign of their programs' "success?"

We must remember that the HIV front in Africa is in a very precarious situation. Humanitarian groups that focus on the HIV crisis are running out of money, and donors are bailing out on their pledges to donate to the cause. African governments and humanitarian groups alike have come to depend on aid from benefactors who have come under the circumcision/HIV craze, and use the WHO endorsement to dictate circumcision quotas. In order to keep their donors and benefactors happy, African govenment and humanitarian organizations have to demonstrate that they are conducting "mass circumcision campaigns," and that they are achieving "success."

Is there REALLY an "increased demand" in circumcisions? How many men or parents of boys have actually been convinced by the dubious circumcision/HIV message? Or are governments and humanitarian establishments who depend on pro-circumcision aid taking advantage of the pre-existing circumcising culture to appear "successful?"

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The counselling or the free circumcision?

After reading this article at, I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry. "South Africa: Circumcision Demand Shoots Up," it says, but the title is rather misleading. The author might have you believe that circumcision demand has actually "shot up," until s/he reveals to you that it's circumcision season, in South Africa. Every year, scores of men die at "circumcision schools," and countless others end up losing their penises to gangrene. But that's not any reason why boys might want to take advantage of a free circumcision in a clinical setting. Oh no, not at all.

"In just one week following the start of the winter school holidays over 1000 boys queued up to get circumcised..."

Now let's ask the author how many of these boys would have had to go to a circumcision school anyway.

The rest of the article is basically sensationalism to embellish the fact that an expected surge in clinical circumcisions done at circumcision/HIV clinics is happening. Some of what comes out of these boys' mouths when asked why they are there may give you a pause, however:

Why did you want to circumcise, I asked Buhle.

"To avoid the diseases because in South Africa there are many diseases by having sex with no condom. So, it protects you from the diseases because if you are circumcised, it's 60% less diseases", he replied.

Uh... yeah...

Did you have to talk to your parents about circumcising?

"Yes, it's them who told me that I have to come circumcise", he said.

So it sounds like, this child is not here out of his own volition...

Then, he gushed about the quality of counselling he got at the centre.

"Oh, counselling! It's the counseling that made me to be here today because I wasn't going to be here because I was scared. The counselling is very good because it's talking to you to know how to know yourself, know your status they even test you here high blood, sugar. They were telling us about condoms, how to use them. Condoms are important because if you are circumcised there is 60% less (chances of getting HIV), but if you use condoms that 40% is going to be on that means 100% safer for you".

Something's in the water. In just the previous breath he was talking about sex with no condoms, and the fact that he is here because of his parents. But now it's the counselling. Oh yes, it's the counselling that made him be here today! And the quality of the counseling shows. Because condoms don't provide 100% protection unless their wearers are circumcised...

"Not only has the clinic increased the number of circumcised boys. It has also increased the number of boys who take up HIV counselling and testing. And so has the Bophelo Pele centre in Orange Farm. Over 80% of the 1084 boys who were circumcised at both centres have accepted the HIV test."

Yes, because HIV counseling and testing is simply not possible unless the recipient is circumcised. Maybe they should start providing clinical female circumcision. That way they could counsel the women as WELL as the men. I mean, it's how it works, right?

"Scientific research shows that circumcised men have a 60% less risk of infection."

Actually, no, no it doesn't. The select data "researchers" with an agenda present "shows" a 60% decrease, and this is attributed to circumcision. To be sure, "studies" were seeking to attribute a reduction in HIV transmission to circumcision since about 1986. The decrease found in the latest "studies" doesn't manifest itself outside of the carefully constructed "research." The "researchers" have yet to produce a working hypothesis for their studies. There is not a shred of scientific evidence that demonstrably proves circumcision prevents anything. This doctor is either keeping this trade secret to himself, or he doesn't know.

"Combined with the use of condoms, the protectiveness is increased."

Actually, no, circumcised or not, condoms provide the exact same protection. You don't need to be circumcised to wear a condom.

In America, 80% of the male population is circumcised, AND condoms are easily available. Despite this fact, HIV transmission rates, and the transmission rates of other STDs, are higher in America, than in Europe, where circumcision is rare. Somehow, this is going to work differently in Africa.

If by "counselling" they mean corroborating with boys and men that were seeking to get circumcised anyway, these "doctors" are doing an excellent job.

This article is misleading. It says there is an "increase in circumcision demand," where there is actually none. Are circumcision/HIV advocates trying to take credit for circumcisions that would have taken place anyway? Do you SERIOUSLY have to circumcise a man or child in order to test him and counsel him in the use of condoms? Like, is his brain simply not able to process this information until he's been circumcised? Does circumcision somehow make his brain more receptive? I wouldn't be surprised to see a scientific "study" that "shows" this in the near future.

What it's always been about...

I've never been convinced.

Ever since "researchers" came out with the "studies" that circumcision "reduced the risk of HIV," I saw it for what it was. This isn't about "HIV," this isn't about "public health care." This is all about ultimately legitimizing what "doctors" and "scientists" have been trying to legitimize for years; the genital mutilation of healthy, non-consenting infants. They've been trying to do this for over a century, the "disease" that circumcision is supposed to prevent changing every time real science manages to debunk the claims.

Since the first "studies" came out in 2006, "doctors" and "scientists" were already thinking about how they could use the latest "studies" to legitimize, not the circumcision of sexually active adults who are at risk for sexually transmitted HIV, no; the "doctors" and "researchers" were already thinking about how the "science" could be used to push the circumcision of INFANTS. INFANTS, who do not yet have sex and are at absolute zero risk for sexually transmitted HIV. And not infants in Africa, no; people were eager to get circumcision for HIV transmission endorsed here at home for American children.

Well, that hasn't happened just yet, but it looks like pro-circumcision advocates have finally achieved in legitimizing the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting infants under the guise of HIV transmission all the way in Africa. How absolutely disgusting.

What trial? What "studies" were conducted in healthy, non-consenting infants? If I remember correctly, all of the "studies" conducted in Africa were conducted on adult men consenting to undergo the procedure of circumcision. What on EARTH are we doing pushing circumcision on healthy, non-consenting infants? WHY are we doing this? What if we conducted "studies" on consenting women who wanted to part with their labia and clitoral hoods? If "studies" showed a "reduction in HIV transmission" for the women, would we proceed to recommend it in CHILDREN? WHY is our government doing this??? Is it because they've been unsuccessful in getting our AAP to endorse this here at home? Do they somehow think if they could achieve it in Africa, that this would somehow translate back home? According to the CDC, the neonatal circumcision rate in the US has fallen to approx. 33%. Is it their intention to shore that up here at home at the expense of children in Africa?

According to the Swazi Observer, "HARDLY a month after the neonatal circumcision campaign was launched; there have been over 400 circumcised." WHY is there even a neonatal circumcision campaign?
Are children having sex? Are they at any risk for sexually transmitted HIV? WHY are they being denied a choice?

"We have held the press conference on the 30th of June because it is the last day of the children’s month. Therefore, we felt it proper to look back and reflect on what we have done this month towards improving the lives and health of Swazi children during a time when societies are greatly affected by the deaths caused by HIV/AIDS," said Public Services International (PSI) HIV Services Director Jessica Greene.


"The USAID Director and PEPFAR officer Jennifer Albertini said she was very grateful for the accelerated approach to circumcision in the country and said she was confident that in the long run the benefits of the mass circumcision campaign would be massive in terms of reducing the spread of HIV in the country."

Yes, Albertini. Because children are contributing the most to the HIV transmission rate. It's not the circumcised men, where HIV tranmission was found to be MORE PREVALENT.

"The target is to circumcise 152 000 males after a year and bearing in mind we have already, one is optimistic that we will be able to meet the target," said Albertini.

That's what it's all about isn't it, Albertini, meeting a target...

"Neonatal male circumcision is the removal of the foreskin that covers the tip of the newborn’s penis."

The foreskin IS the tip of the newborn's penis. What a gross representation of basic human anatomy.
"NEONATAL circumcision is advantageous because it reduces the risk of negative complications."
NO, ANY surgery where it is not needed is an INCREASE in the risk of negative complications.
"Early circumcision maximises the benefits of circumcision and becomes very easy to perform. Therefore, providing the most apparent reason why we recommend all parents should take their children for circumcision when while they are still young," said Reid.

What "benefits" is a healthy child in need of? The most apparent reason that Reid recommends parents take their children in for circumcision "while they are still young" is because they would not be so willing to undergo the operation as adults. In other words, Reid is legitimizing deliberate child abuse. Absolutely despicable.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Mahdi from the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Foundation said it was very important that circumcision was included on both prior and post counseling of the mothers. "We are currently panning to introduce circumcision in the counseling offered to mothers before birth so that they are taught about the benefits before they even before they give birth," said Mahdi.

Hrm... what if the children are born with HIV? Shouldn't they be talking to them about preventing mother-to-child transmission FIRST??? Why is THIS priority? Are male children simply already sick in utero? Mohammed Mahdi... sounds like this person may have a personal bias... he would "advise mothers" about the "benefits" of circumcision anyway...

"FOLLOWING some cases on the effects of circumcision, the World Heath Organisation has issued guidelines on how the process should be conducted by all doctors.

This was announced by Dr Dennis Buwembo from JHPIEGO who said some fatal cases and after effects of some fatal cases and operations that had gown wrong had become a cause for concern.
Hence, the main reason the WHO issued the guidelines which stipulate clearly that the process can only be conducted by professionals through local anesthesia."

Are they **** serious. First off, HAS the WHO actually gone ahead and endorsed circumcision as HIV transmission prevention in CHILDREN? And if children are dying, shouldn't they be RECONSIDERING??? This is absolutely infuriating.

The article continues with dispensing of the same old misinformation.

"Advantages of Neonatal Male Circumcision"
Question one; WHY should it be performed in the first place? Aren't we going to hear about the advantages of NOT circumcising? Or is there only one option?

"Faster healing"
WHY is there need for a deliberate wound, PERIOD???

"Less complications if performed by trained health care workers"
This is not always guaranteed. Why should a healthy, non-consenting child be put at risk for ANY complications???

"Lower costs"
There are NO costs in leaving the child alone.

"Neonatal MC maximizes the benefits of circumcision by providing the procedure before the male becomes sexually active"
"Benefits" which are dubious at best. Even if these "benefits" were 100% concrete, how does a child, who is not sexually active benefit? Shouldn't it be up to the child to decide whether he wants this "benefit?" WHY are they circumcising healthy, non-consenting, sexually inactive INFANTS???

"Easy to perform"
"Sunat" is easy to perform too.
"Risks of Neonatal Male Circumcision
Pain after the procedure

Reaction to the anaesthesia
Swelling of the wound"

Partial or full ablation??? DEATH??? It is mentioned in this very article. Yet, it's not part of this **** list.


It is a complete outrage that our country is taking advantage of 3rd world countries this way to push infant genital mutilation. It's enough that doctors take advantage of parental naivete and the defenselessness of children to reap profit from completely unnecessary surgery. Now we're going as far as Africa to push it there as well? This is absolutely despicable. It's morally repugnant. I am outraged that this. THIS is what my tax dollars are being used for. Forget about quackery that doesn't work; we're outright endorsing deliberate child abuse and genital mutilation. Sooner or later this nation is going to pay for raping Africa in the name of "humanitarian aid." Something has got to be done about this.