NYC not planning to promote circumcision, says health commissioner

The New York Times published a correction by the health commissioner today stating that the “New York Health Department has not planned, developed or announced a campaign to encourage at-risk men to get circumcised.” The health commissioner called such a plan premature.

Ok, fine. But does he think more study will somehow link circumcision to lower HIV infection rates in intravenous drug users? Men who practice both receptive and active anal intercourse? This is how it is passed in the majority of cases in the United States. Circumcision was only studied in the context of heterosexual epidemics.

Despite insistent claims by the authors of these studies, it is impossible to conclude that mass circumcision will have anywhere near the 50% reduction in HIV infections even in Africa since the highest rate of infection is in women from already infected men.

The letter, next page.

THANK YOU to Ron Low for giving me an early morning heads-up on this item.

AIDS and Circumcision

To the Editor:

Re “City Health Dept. Plans to Promote Circumcision to Reduce Spread of AIDS” (news article, April 5):

The New York City Health Department has not planned, developed or announced a campaign to encourage at-risk men to get circumcised. Like other domestic health agencies, we are encouraging people to discuss and study this issue.

Because circumcision has the potential to decrease H.I.V. transmission by more than half, we hope that men who choose the procedure will have access to it. A campaign to promote circumcision in this country would be premature without stronger evidence, but the time
is right for a communitywide dialogue.

Thomas R. Frieden, M.D.

New York City

Health Commissioner

New York, April 9, 2007

Reference

Letter to the Editor. AIDS and Circumcision. New York Times. April 12, 2007.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/12/opinion/l12aids.html?ei=5070&en=7ec41b2b2ed04293&ex=1177041600&emc=eta1&pagewanted=print

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