Dr. Dix Poppas’s Incredible Clitoris Reduction and Stimulation Program at Cornell University

I can’t do any better than Dan Savage on this one. He has written a blog post on the Frankensteinian program of female genital cutting, and what sounds to me like sexual molestation, at Weill Cornell Medical College (Cornell University), run by one improbably named Dix Poppas.

dixpoppas

Dr. Dix Poppas

The professor cuts the girls and then brings them back for sessions with a vibrator to prove they still have sensation. This outrageous program was first exposed by Alice Dreger and Ellen Feder, which Dan quotes at length from their article published in the Bioethics Forum.

The one word summary is creepy. Dan goes on a bit longer, describing his entirely reasonable objection, which I join, to the clitoris reduction and stimulation program this way.

There’s so much to be angry about I hardly know where to start. Applying a vibrator to a girl’s clitoris after it’s been surgically shortened may demonstrate that she still has “sensation” in what’s been left behind—that she still has a few nerve endings that function—but that’s not proof that she hasn’t been physically or emotionally harmed by the surgery and those traumatic follow-up “procedures.” These post-op visits with the doctor and his vibrator do the girls no good—what can the doctor do if a girl reports no sensation? reassemble her clit?—and retaining sensation isn’t proof that these girls will grow up to be healthy, sexually functional adults. All of the tissues that make up the clitoris—the glans, the stem, the erectile tissues [and I would add the clitoral hood]—are important to sexual response, orgasm, and fulfillment, not just the part of the clitoris that’s “normally” exposed.

Are you as angry and outraged as I am? Then write to Cornell and tell the University that these children are not the scientific playthings of Dr. Dix.

Link: Female Genital Mutilation at Cornell University

About David Wilton

fronterizo, defense lawyer, intactivist
This entry was posted in Medicine and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Dr. Dix Poppas’s Incredible Clitoris Reduction and Stimulation Program at Cornell University

  1. Joseph Lewis says:

    If you check out some of the commentary on the articles that are reporting this, people are expressing outrage at Cornell, as well they should be.
    Meanwhile, over at the University of Alabama Birmingham is getting ready to conduct yet another “study” on male circumcision.
    http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01115335?term=circumcision&rank=4
    And no, not just any male circumcision, INFANT male circumcision.
    The study also doesn’t take a look at anything in particular; it doesn’t study any sort of “disease” or the reduction of the risk thereof, no.
    This “study” is to measure “feasibility and acceptability.” That circumcision prevents something, that it will spell immunity for HIV in circumcised children is forgone conclusion.
    Nevermind the realities that are the US and Israel, nevermind the realities in the six African countries where HIV was more prevalent in circumcised men. (Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, and Tanzania)
    Where is the outrage that was expressed at Cornell?
    Little girls are having their clitorises reduced because of an actual abnormality in their bodies. The “studies” may actually be legit and perhaps serve some future purpose for when and if “nerve sparing” becomes an option for older women with CAH.
    How is it even acceptable that there are going to be “studies” that involve the circumcision of healthy, non-consenting children???
    If the rights of girls with abnormally large clitorises are important, shouldn’t this go without saying for healthy baby boys that have NOTHING WRONG WITH THEM???
    Who is sending correspondence to University of Alabama? Who is expressing outrage at this attrocity besides me? Who is disgusted that their country is wasting tax dollars on mutilating healthy children abroad, when they can’t even have a bite to eat or clean water to drink and bathe?
    This flagrant double-standard just sickens me. The sheer hypocrisy of this stupid country.

  2. Joseph Lewis says:

    I recently wrote to the University of Alabama, Birmingham, for the latest “study” it’s trying to undertake.
    http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01115335
    The “Principal Investigator” is one Elizabeth Stringer, but I took the liberty of writing to a few more people.
    The letter is as follows:
    Dear Dr. Stringer,
    My name is Joseph Lewis and I am a California resident. I’m not a doctor nor a scientist by any means of the imagination, though I am writing to you to address a concern. I write regarding the study NCT01115335, otherwise known as PS123541- 06, because it says that you are the “Principal Investigator.”
    http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01115335
    Please be informed that this letter was also sent to President of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Carol Garrison, Dean Robert R. Rich, M.D. at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, Dean Max Michael, III M.D. at the School of Public Health, Chair of the Department of Epidemiology Dr. Donna Arnett, and Chair at the Department of Health Care Organization and Policy Dr. Peter Gitner.
    Let me begin by saying that I realize that AIDS and HIV transmission is a very serious problem and everything must be done to address it.
    My concern is the ethics and morality of a study that involves the forced genital cutting of non-consenting minors, especially a study based on a dubious premise that is assumed to be a foregone conclusion; that circumcision indeed prevents the transmission of HIV.
    The trials that this study is based on suffer from glaringly obvious flaws, but for the sake of argument, I’m going to assume good faith and accept, at least temporarily, their conclusion that “circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission by 60%.” Let’s assume that circumcision does offer some degree of “protection” against HIV transmission.
    Given the reality that is the US, where, even though 80% of all American males have already been circumcised from birth, the HIV transmission rate is higher than many countries in Europe where circumcision is not a custom, and given the realities of other African countries where HIV was found to be more prevalent in circumcised males, one wonders how scientists and researchers have come to the conclusion that circumcision prevents HIV in sexually active males, let alone healthy and sexually inactive children. Incidentally, when the HIV epidemic struck in the US around the 1980s, the rate of circumcised men in America was at about 90%; I feel stupified that I’m expected to believe that something that hasn’t worked in this country is going to suddenly start working wonders in Africa.
    HIV was found to be more prevalent in circumcised men in Rwanda, Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, and Swaziland. (E.g in Malawi, the HIV rate is 13.2% among circumcised men, but only 9.5% among intact men. In Cameroon, the HIV rate is 4.1% among circumcised men, but only 1.1% among intact men.) If one uses Google to look up “haaretz” and “HIV” and/or “AIDS” one will see that AIDS is a growing epidemic in Israel, where the majority of men are circumcised. The Wawer study in the link below, although it was terminated early, found that male circumcision increased the incidence rate of HIV for women.
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60998-3/abstract
    It is attrocious that authorities are beginning mass-circumcision campaigns based on shoddy studies that conflict with reality. I suppose that if adults weigh the risks and want to get circumcised, then it is their prerogative, even if the information they are being given is dubious. However, why are there “studies” being carried out on healthy, non-consenting infants, where the risk for sexually transmitted HIV is zero, and where the children are more likely to get it from their mothers? Why the leap to promote circumcision in infants, when they are not able to give their consent, and may not want to give their consent as adults?
    What precisely is the purpose of study NCT01115335/PS123541-06? It looks like whether or not circumcision will actually prevent HIV is not even a concern; the goal of the study is to see how “feasible” and “acceptable” it will be to proliferate circumcision in infants. The ethics of permanently altering the genitals of healthy, non-consenting minors seems to be of little or no concern. Are basic human rights simply not that important in the fight against AIDS?
    Would the University of Alabama ever fund female circumcision “studies?” What if there were “studies” that showed that the risk of HIV transmission was decreased by 60% in women who underwent female circumcision? 70%? 90%? 100%? Would they then try and “study” its “feasibility” and “acceptability” in Africa? Yes? No?
    According to Stallings et al. 2009, “The risk of HIV among women who had undergon Female Circumcision is roughly half that of women who had not. Association remained significant after adjusting for region, houshold, wealth, age, lifetime, partners and union status.”
    (Female circumcision and HIV infection in Tanzania:
    For better or for worse?
    3rd IAS conference on HIV pathogenesis and treatment
    International AIDS Society)
    According to Kanki P. M’Boup S, andMarlink R, et al., “Women who have undergone Female Circumcision have a significantly decreased risk of HIV-2 infection when compared to those who had not.”
    (Kanki P, M’Boup S, Marlink R, et al.
    “Prevalence & risk determinants of HIV type 2
    (HIV-2) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1
    (HIV-1) in west African female prostitutes
    Am. J. Epidemiol. 136(7): 895-907. PMID)
    As I’ve said before, I acknowledge that AIDS and HIV transmission are very serious problems. Is there any specific reason why the University of Alabama Birmingham is interested in “studying” the “feasibility” and “acceptance” of male infant circumcision, and male infant circumcision only?
    I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Cornell University is facing a lot of heat due to some “studies” that one Dr. Poppas was carrying out in young girls. Basically, girls deemed to have clitorises that were “too big” were having the clitoral shaft removed, and having the clitoris reattached; to “test for sensitivity” he was using a vibrating device. This is currently being condemned as outrageous and unacceptable, and rightfully so.
    http://www.thehastingscenter.org/Bioethicsforum/Post.aspx?id=4730&blogid=140
    You must also be aware that the AAP was forced to retract their last statement by human rights groups; the AAP was let known that they were not to condone as much as a NICK in baby girls.
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-academy-of-pediatrics-withdraws-policy-statement-on-female-genital-cutting-95029069.html
    While our country condemns any “study” that may even be remotely construed as female genital mutilation, and while we will not allow any medical authority to condone as much as a “ritual nick” which removes zero flesh, here we have the University of Alabama sponsoring a “study” that basically condones the violation of the most basic of human rights of minors. HOW is it that ANY authority has made the leap to use studies carried out on adults to condone the circumcision of non-consenting minors?
    This “study,” ANY study that employs forcefully cutting up the genitals of non-consenting minors, male or female, is an attrocity. This, the study being sponsored and backed by the University of Alabama, Birmingham is a tragedy and abomination. It is a double-standard that we in the United States will not allow as much as a NICK for any reason whatsoever in girls, but here we are “studying” to see how we can make male circumcision more palatable based on dubious premises. I am HORRIFIED by this study.
    I am but a single voice, but there are others that feel the same as I do. I hope that you will have listened to what I have to say. I am going to send this e-mail to others. We as a country cannot allow these so-called “studies” to continue. AIDS and HIV transmission are a huge problems, but they can’t be used as pretexts to violate basic human rights, especially the basic human rights of minors. Whether or not one wants to be circumcised should be a grown man’s choice. Circumcising a baby is a violation of basic human rights.
    It is my hope that the University of Alabama, and any other institutions that call themselves pillars of higher education will take the high road and stop funding studies that violate the rights of minors. It is a double-standard that while while no female circumcision “study” is acceptable, we’re spending millions an “studying” how to proliferate infant circumcision. We’re supposed to be helping the poor. Feeding them. Clothing them. Providing clean water. Not finding ways to violate their rights. Exploiting non-consenting minors for science experiments is absolutely horrendous. Stopping HIV and AIDS is very important and I acknowledge this, but seeking ways to do this shouldn’t be done at the sacrifice of the human rights of others.
    Concerned US Citizen,
    Joseph Lewis

  3. Joseph Lewis says:

    I sent similar letters to:
    Principal Investigator: Elizabeth M Stringer, MD University of Alabama at Birmingham and Centre for Infectious Disease Research of Zambia
    Dr. Elizabeth Stringer
    E-mail: eli@uab.edu
    President of the University of Alabama at Birmingham
    Carol Garrison, Ph.D.
    Office of the President
    Mailing address: 1530 Third Ave. South
    Campus address: AB 1070, ZIP 0110
    E-mail: president@uab.edu
    Telephone: (205) 934-4636
    Fax: (205) 975-8505
    Robert R. Rich, M.D.
    Senior Vice President & Dean
    University of Alabama School of Medicine
    http://medicine.uab.edu/about/44735/
    E-mail: RRICH@UAB.EDU
    University of Alabama
    School of Public Health
    Max Michael, III, MD
    Professor and Dean
    Dept. of Health Care Organization and Policy
    School of Public Health
    Contact Information:
    Office Address: RPHB 140
    Phone: 205-975-7752
    E-mail: maxm@uab.edu
    Donna K. Arnett, PhD, MSPH
    Professor and Chair
    Dept. of Epidemiology
    School of Public Health
    Contact Information
    Office Address: RPHB 220
    Phone: 205-934-7066
    E-mail: arnett@uab.edu
    Peter M. Ginter, Ph.D.
    Chair
    Dept. Health Care Organization and Policy
    Phone: (205) 975-8970
    FAX: (205) 934-3347
    pginter@uab.edu
    Stringer seems to be part of a branch of the University of Alabama, Birmingham called The Centre for Infectious Disease Research of Zambia. The link to their website is below, and it looks like they’re well funded. Perhaps I shall have to take the time and write to them as well…
    http://www.cidrz.org/
    http://www.cidrz.org/donors
    CIDRZ has received direct financial and in-kind support from the following organizations:
    University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Medicine
    University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Public Health
    University of Alabama Health Services Foundation (UAHSF)
    Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF)
    Zambia National AIDS Network (local grant-making agency for the Global Fund to fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria)
    Columbia University MTCT Plus Initiative
    U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIAID, FIC, NIHCD, NCI)
    Oprah Winfrey Foundations / Oprah’s Angels Network
    The Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation / Mary Fisher Clinical AIDS Research and Education (CARE) Fund
    U.S. Agency for International Development (via EGPAF and UAB)
    U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (via UAB)
    Gilead Foundation
    The AIDS Orphan Fund
    Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
    Paine-McGovern Family Foundation

  4. Joseph Lewis says:

    So I also took the time to write to these people:
    Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF)
    International Programs: ifai@pedaids.org
    Zambia National AIDS Network (local grant-making agency for the Global Fund to fight AIDS Tuberculosis and Malaria)
    znan@zamnet.zm
    Columbia University MTCT Plus Initiative
    icap@columbia.edu
    U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIAID, FIC, NIHCD, NCI)
    NIH Director: Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
    e-mail: collinsf@mail.nih.gov
    Oprah Winfrey Foundations / Oprah’s Angels Network
    http://www.oprah.com/contact_us.html
    The Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation / Mary Fisher Clinical AIDS Research and Education (CARE) Fund
    support@maryfisher.org
    U.S. Agency for International Development (via EGPAF and UAB)
    pinquiries@usaid.gov
    U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    circumcision@cdc.gov
    cdcinfo@cdc.gov;
    Katrina Kretsinger, MD
    Lieutenant commander
    US Public Health Service
    1600 Clifton Road NE
    Atlanta, GA 30333
    404-639-8544
    kkretsinger@cdc.gov;
    Peter H. Kilmarx
    Branch Chief
    US Centers for Disease Control
    Corporate Square, E45
    Corporate Blvd.
    Atlanta, GA 30329
    peter.kilmarx@cdc.hhs.gov
    pbk4@cdc.gov
    Lee Warner, Ph.D
    Centers for Disease Control
    Division of Reproductive Health
    4770 Buford Hwy NE
    Mail Stop K-34
    Atlanta, GA 30341
    dlw7@cdc.gov
    Patrick Sullivan
    patrick.sullivan@cdc.hhs.gov;
    Thomas Peterman
    thomas.peterman@cdc.hhs.gov;
    Allan Taylor
    allan.taylor@cdc.hhs.gov;
    Allyn Nakashima
    allyn.nakashima@cdc.hhs.gov;
    Mary Kamb
    mary.kamb@cdc.hhs.gov;
    Lee Warner
    lee.warner@cdc.hhs.gov;
    Stephanie Bailey
    stephanie.bailey@cdc.hhs.gov;
    Stephen Blount
    stephen.blount@cdc.hhs.gov;
    Kevin Fenton
    kevin.fenton@cdc.hhs.gov;
    Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (via UAB)
    info@gatesfoundation.org
    Bill Gates
    billg@microsoft.com
    Gilead Foundation
    public_affairs@gilead.com
    Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
    ddcf@aibs.org
    White House
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

  5. Joseph Lewis says:

    Dear Sirs and Madams at (Organization),
    My name is Joseph Lewis and I am a resident of California, USA. I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist by any means of the imagination, though I am writing to you to address a concern. I write regarding a study being carried out by the University of Alabama, Birmingham (Study # NCT01115335, A.K.A. PS123541- 06).
    http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01115335
    I write to you because it says that one Dr. Elizabeth Stringer is the “Principal Investigator”, and because it says she is affiliated with the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Centre for Infectious Disease Research of Zambia (CIDRZ), of which (Organization) is one the donors.
    http://www.cidrz.org/donors
    Please be informed that a similar copy of this letter was sent to the other donors and collaborators on the list at the CIDRZ website, as well as Dr. Stringer herself. It was also sent to President of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Carol Garrison, Dean Robert R. Rich, M.D. at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, Dean Max Michael, III M.D. at the School of Public Health, Chair of the Department of Epidemiology Dr. Donna Arnett, and Chair at the Department of Health Care Organization and Policy Dr. Peter Gitner.
    Let me begin by saying that I realize that AIDS and HIV transmission are very serious problems and everything must be done to address them. In these hard economic times, money is scarce, funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS are being cut from budgets and organizations in Africa are experiencing the repercussions of this. (Organization) is to be commended for contributing funds for the medicine, research and resources which are desperately needed in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa.
    My concern is the ethics and morality of a study that involves the forced genital cutting of non-consenting minors, especially a study based on a dubious premise that is assumed to be a foregone conclusion; that circumcision indeed prevents the transmission of HIV.
    The trials that study # NCT01115335 is based on suffer from glaringly obvious flaws, but for the sake of argument, I’m going to assume good faith and accept, at least temporarily, their conclusion that “circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission by 60%.” Let’s assume that circumcision does offer some degree of “protection” against HIV transmission.
    Given the reality that is the US, where, even though 80% of all American males have already been circumcised from birth, the HIV transmission rate is higher than many countries in Europe where circumcision is not a custom, and given the realities of other African countries where HIV was found to be more prevalent in circumcised males, one wonders how scientists and researchers have come to the conclusion that circumcision prevents HIV in sexually active males, let alone healthy and sexually inactive children. Incidentally, when the HIV epidemic struck in the US around the 1980s, the rate of circumcised men in America was at about 90%; I feel stupefied that I’m expected to believe that something that hasn’t worked in this country is going to suddenly start working wonders in Africa.
    HIV was found to be more prevalent in circumcised men in Rwanda, Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, and Swaziland. (E.g. in Malawi, the HIV rate is 13.2% among circumcised men, but only 9.5% among intact men. In Cameroon, the HIV rate is 4.1% among circumcised men, but only 1.1% among intact men.) If one uses Google to look up “Haaretz” and “HIV” and/or “AIDS” one will see that AIDS is a growing epidemic in Israel, where the majority of men are circumcised. The Wawer study in the link below, although it was terminated early, found that male circumcision increased the incidence rate of HIV for women.
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(09)60998-3/abstract
    It is atrocious that authorities are beginning mass-circumcision campaigns based on shoddy studies that conflict with reality. I suppose that if adults weigh the risks and want to get circumcised, then it is their prerogative, even if the information they are being given is dubious. However, why are there “studies” being carried out on healthy, non-consenting infants, where the risk for sexually transmitted HIV is zero, and where the children are more likely to get it from their mothers? Why the leap to promote circumcision in infants, when they are not able to give their consent, and may not want to give their consent as adults?
    What precisely is the purpose of study # NCT01115335? It looks like whether or not circumcision will actually prevent HIV is not even a concern; the goal of the study is to see how “feasible” and “acceptable” it will be to proliferate circumcision in infants. The ethics of permanently altering the genitals of healthy, non-consenting minors seems to be of little or no concern. Are basic human rights simply not that important in the fight against AIDS?
    Would (Organization) ever fund female circumcision “studies?” What if there were “studies” that showed that the risk of HIV transmission was decreased by 60% in women who underwent female circumcision? 70%? 90%? 100%? Would they then try and “study” its “feasibility” and “acceptability” in Africa? Yes? No?
    According to Stallings et al. 2009, “The risk of HIV among women who had undergon Female Circumcision is roughly half that of women who had not. Association remained significant after adjusting for region, houshold, wealth, age, lifetime, partners and union status.”
    (Female circumcision and HIV infection in Tanzania:
    For better or for worse?
    3rd IAS conference on HIV pathogenesis and treatment
    International AIDS Society)
    According to Kanki P. M’Boup S, andMarlink R, et al., “Women who have undergone Female Circumcision have a significantly decreased risk of HIV-2 infection when compared to those who had not.”
    (Kanki P, M’Boup S, Marlink R, et al.
    “Prevalence & risk determinants of HIV type 2
    (HIV-2) and human immunodeficiency virus type 1
    (HIV-1) in west African female prostitutes
    Am. J. Epidemiol. 136(7): 895-907. PMID)
    As I’ve said before, I acknowledge that AIDS and HIV transmission are very serious problems. Is there any specific reason why organizations are interested in “studying” the “feasibility” and “acceptance” of male infant circumcision, and male infant circumcision only?
    I’m not sure if you’re aware, but Cornell University is facing a lot of heat due to some “studies” that one Dr. Poppas was carrying out in young girls. Basically, girls deemed to have clitorises that were “too big” were having the clitoral shaft removed, and having the clitoris reattached; to “test for sensitivity” he was using a vibrating device. This is currently being condemned as outrageous and unacceptable, and rightfully so.
    http://www.thehastingscenter.org/Bioethicsforum/Post.aspx?id=4730&blogid=140
    You must also be aware that the AAP was forced to retract their last statement by human rights groups; the AAP was let known that they were not to condone as much as a NICK in baby girls.
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/american-academy-of-pediatrics-withdraws-policy-statement-on-female-genital-cutting-95029069.html
    While our country condemns any “study” that may even be remotely construed as female genital mutilation, and while we will not allow any medical authority to condone as much as a “ritual nick” which removes zero flesh, here we have the University of Alabama sponsoring a “study” that basically condones the violation of the most basic of human rights of minors. HOW is it that ANY authority has made the leap to use studies carried out on adults to condone the circumcision of non-consenting minors?
    This “study,” ANY study that employs forcefully cutting up the genitals of non-consenting minors, male or female, is an atrocity. This, the study being sponsored and backed by the University of Alabama, Birmingham is a tragedy and abomination. It is a double-standard that we in the United States will not allow as much as a NICK for any reason whatsoever in girls, but here we are “studying” to see how we can make male circumcision more palatable based on dubious premises. I am HORRIFIED by this study.
    I am but a single voice, but there are others that feel the same as I do. I hope that you will have listened to what I have to say. I am going to send this e-mail to others. We as a country cannot allow these so-called “studies” to continue. AIDS and HIV transmission are huge problems, but they can’t be used as pretexts to violate basic human rights, especially the basic human rights of minors. Whether or not one wants to be circumcised should be a grown man’s choice. Circumcising a baby is a violation of basic human rights.
    It is my hope that the University of Alabama, and any other institutions that call themselves pillars of higher education will take the high road and stop funding and conducting studies that violate the rights of minors.
    Sirs and madams at (Organization), I write to ask you that in all that you do in this fight against HIV/AIDS, that you please take the moral high ground and refuse to fund studies or programs that seek to circumcise non-consenting minors. The “studies” being used to justify such studies and programs have glaringly obvious flaws, but even if they were 100% accurate, they were carried out on conscientious adults who consented to be circumcised. It is a violation of basic human rights to take a healthy, non-consenting minor and permanently alter his or her genitals by having part of them cut off. I am certain that not even if “studies showed” that female circumcision reduced HIV transmission by 100% would (Organization) fund further “studies” or programs that sought to normalize and proliferate female circumcision.
    It is a sexist double-standard that while no female circumcision “study” is acceptable, millions are being spent on “studying” how to proliferate infant circumcision. We’re supposed to be helping the poor. Feeding them. Clothing them. Providing clean water. Not finding ways to violate their rights. Exploiting non-consenting minors for science experiments is absolutely horrendous. Stopping HIV and AIDS is very important and I acknowledge this, but seeking ways to do this shouldn’t be done at the sacrifice of the human rights of others.
    Concerned US Citizen,
    Joseph Lewis

  6. Joseph Lewis says:

    Dear Mr. President,
    I write concerning PEPFAR and its funding of the proliferation of circumcision programs.
    I know that the decision to fund circumcision promotion stems from the trials that were conducted in Africa recently, but those trials suffer from inherent bias and glaringly obvious flaws, and they fail to correlate with reality.
    Usually, studies seek to find a solution to a problem, not problems that necessitate a “solution.” They usually seek to PRESERVE human anatomy, not justify its destruction. What would be your immediate reaction to a “study” that claimed FEMALE circumcision prevented anything? I’m certain that no such study would ever be taken seriously. I’m quite sure it would be thrown out.
    The African trials were headed by long-standing advocates of circumcision, particularly infant circumcision. This poses a conflict of interest. The people in question are Robert Bailey and Daniel Halperin. Bailey has been trying to justify infant circumcision for years, and Halperin has been quoted saying he wants to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. (his grandfather was a mohel)
    Finally, the “study” results fail to correlate with reality. The “benefit” of circumcision has yet to be seen in our own country. 80% of American men are circumcised since birth, yet we have the highest HIV transmission rate in the industrialized world. In the 80s, when AIDS hit, the rate was at 90%. What happened?
    It’s bad enough that circumcision is being promoted using questionable studies; men in Africa are already using circumcision as an excuse to forgo condoms. Even if the African trials were accurate, circumcision offers no protection to women, putting them at risk. Furthermore, it jeopardizes the rights of minors; organizations are already promoting circumcision in minors who aren’t even at risk for HIV. The African trials involved adult men making a choice. WHY is circumcision being pushed on non-consenting minors? Are human rights not important in the fight against HIV?
    Mr. President, in hard economic times, circumcision promotion is a waste of PEPFAR money. The benefits are questionable, it discourages the use of condoms, and it’s resulting in the violation of non-consenting individuals who aren’t even at risk.
    Joseph Lewis
    PS – In South Africa, 37 youths have died this year as a result of tribal circumcisions, others have lost their penises to gangrene; circumcision promotion gives tribal groups the go-ahead, endangering lives.

  7. Joseph Lewis says:

    UPDATE: I got a reply from Zambia National AIDS Network (ZNAN).
    Dear Mr Joseph Lewis
    Thank you for this email.
    Please be informed that Zambia National AIDS Network (ZNAN) has nothing to do with funding this study or connected to it in any other way.
    We do collaborate with CIDRZ in other ways in the very valuable work CIDRZ does in Zambia.
    Please check your facts on this study.
    Elizabeth N Mataka
    Executive Director
    MY REPLY:
    Dear Ms. Mataka,
    Thank you so very much for your reply.
    It makes me very glad that ZNAN is not contributing to this study. It does pain me to know, however, that the latest African trials are being used to condone the circumcision of helpless infants who cannot give their consent, when the studies themselves were conducted on adult men who gave their full permission and consent. Children are not engaging in risky sexual activity! If as adults, they deem it is necessary because they will be engaging in much sexual activity, then it should be their choice to consider. But some of the children may not even grow up to be sexually promiscuous. Why must circumcision be forced on them if they will remain faithful to their wives?
    As I have said, we are currently living in hard economic times, and ZNAN and other organizations are to be commended for contributing much needed funds to fight HIV and AIDS. It is my hope that ZNAN does not contribute to any “study” that violates the rights of healthy, non-consenting minors. I’m quite sure ZNAN would never fund “studies” in girls, and I hope they do not do so in boys.
    Once again thank you for reading my letter, and thank you for your reply.
    All the best in this fight against this horrible disease.
    Yours truly,
    Joseph Lewis

Comments are closed.