IAS 2011: “What village?! What village?!”

On the second day of the conference (as mentioned in an earlier post), we encountered a group of young Ugandan men who said they were researchers in the Rakai, Uganda, circumcision RCT. The self-assured, self-appointed spokesman for this group made a compelling argument in parable about how circumcision was going to save his country.

We pointed out that one of the unaccounted for confounding factors in his study was numbers of HIV transmissions from men having sex with men (MSM). He said Uganda didn’t have so many homosexuals, and that the numbers were “very low, very low.” He’s right about the reported numbers in his study, which were around 1%.

Earlier in the day, another Ugandan researcher had informed us of her research into MSM using anonymous data collection, which aimed to get a more accurate count of behavior (rather than orientation). According to her research, up to 15% of Ugandan men have engaged in MSM in any previous 12 month period. Anonymity in the circumcision RCTs, of course, was not possible.

Our Ugandan friends upon hearing this more plausible number immediately shouted, “What village?! What village?!”

(Note that Uganda has been the center of efforts to criminalize gay men with death as punishment.)

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2 Responses to IAS 2011: “What village?! What village?!”

  1. Joe says:

    That is a big black hole in his information, how can one possibly try and ignore such a high risk group/activity? Surely such a researcher (who is presumably well read and open minded) would know that there is no reason to believe that the prevalence of MSMs are any less in his country than elsewhere in the world where it’s been more reliably measured.

  2. “Gay Guise: When Straight Men Have Sex With Other Men” in Psychology Today
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/gays-anatomy/200810/gay-guise-when-straight-men-have-sex-other-men
    “Homophobic Men Most Aroused by Gay Male Porn” in Psychology Today
    http://tinyurl.com/3efuw3t

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