In the NYTimes: A Mild Letter to the Editor

A very mild caution in a letter to the editor of the New York Times, above the fold.

Circumcision and AIDS

To the Editor:

Re “W.H.O. Urges Circumcision to Reduce Spread of AIDS” (news article, March 29):

Male circumcision may not be brain surgery, but that does not mean that it is simple to provide safely in countries with weak public health services.

I just returned from South Africa, where health clinics are desperately short of skilled personnel, especially in the urban and rural communities with a high prevalence of H.I.V. and AIDS. As countries decide whether to add male circumcision to their prevention mix, they must carefully weigh their capacity to provide it properly.

Another worry is the fact that men should abstain from sex for at least four weeks after the surgery. This seems highly unlikely in the conditions I have observed, in southern Africa and elsewhere.

We must remember that this intervention in itself will do nothing to change the harmful behavior patterns — unprotected sex, coercion and violence — that are putting people, especially women, at risk.

Lyn Messner

New York, March 30, 2007

The writer is program officer, Africa, for the International Women’s Health Coalition.


Letter to the Editor. Circumcision and AIDS. New York Times. April 5, 2007.


About David Wilton

fronterizo, public defender, intactivist, gay
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