Apparently, New York City’s Health Commissioner caught Mayor Bloomberg off guard with his announcement to begin pushing circumcision. The mayor may be sensing the trouble Friedan got him into the last time circumcision reared its ugly head. See last post.
The mayor said, “whether it’s something that the government should be involved in, or just giving advice and making sure that people get educated,” is the issue under consideration.
Story after the break.
Mayor Doubtful About Government’s Role in Anti-AIDS Circumcision Plan
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg raised questions yesterday about an approach under consideration at the Health Department to promote circumcision as a way to reduce the risk of contracting AIDS.
The approach was reported yesterday in The New York Times, but Bloomberg officials cautioned that it was still in its infancy and not yet something the administration had decided to pursue.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has been exploring the issue with community groups and gay rights organizations as well as with the Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs public hospitals and clinics.
Those discussions have come in the wake of the World Health Organization’s endorsement of the procedure as an effective way to prevent the disease in men at high risk of contracting it.
Asked about the approach at a news conference, Mr. Bloomberg expressed support for seeking new ways to combat the disease, but suggested that he was unconvinced that government should be involved in promoting or providing circumcisions.
“I have not had a chance to talk to Tom Frieden and Alan Aviles about this,” Mr. Bloomberg said, referring to Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden and Alan D. Aviles, chairman of the Health and Hospitals Corporation.
Saying that the rate of H.I.V. infection and AIDS in the city was alarmingly high despite education campaigns, he added, “We have to do something about it and we should be looking at everything, and when reputable health organizations talk about ways to do it you certainly are going to give it some serious consideration.”
Still, the mayor said, “whether it’s something that the government should be involved in, or just giving advice and making sure that people get educated, education in the end is the real tool to stop the spread of AIDS in our society.”
Cardwell, Diane. Mayor Doubtful About Government’s Role in Anti-AIDS Circumcision Plan. New York Times. April 6, 2007.