AIDS Study - Fact or Fiction

AIDS STUDY Fact or Fiction:

Advocates of circumcision have always been looking for a reason
to legitimize this surgery.  The research conducted in Kenya
seemed to be the perfect example.  While the study suggests that
men who are uncircumcised or have genital sores are more likely
to contract AIDS, the authors of the study indicate that the
results do not prove that circumcising actually helps protect
males from AIDS.  The headline given to the article (Leader Post
August 6, 1988, UNCIRCUMCISED MEN HAVE GREATER RISK OF CATCHING
AIDS, study says) however, suggests that uncircumcised men have a
greater risk of catching AIDS even though the study is
inconclusive.

With regards to the study, serious questions have to be asked. 
First, what bearing does a study of men in Kenya who are involved
with prostitutes have to American or Canadian males?  Even if
there is some validity to the study as the headlines suggest, why
should all males be circumcised in order to protect them from
contracting the AIDS virus from prostitutes?  Are males required
to have relationships with prostitutes?  Or do males who frequent
prostitutes not have some responsibility for their actions?

Does the study also suggest that uncircumcised males have greater
abundance of genital sores than circumcised males?  If so, what
medical evidence is there to support this supposition?  Both
circumcised and non-circumcised males are susceptible to viruses
which may cause genital sores.  If being circumcised supposedly
protects males from V.D., then why is V.D. so prevalent among
American males when the majority of them have been circumcised?

According to the article, (also printed in the Leader Post March
5, 1990, AIDS CASES CONTINUE TO RISE) why does the U.S.A.
continue to account for more than half of the global figures in
the number of AIDS cases, while Britain and other countries in
Europe (where circumcision has virtually dropped to zero), a
below average increase?  The results of the study have no
correlation to the real situation.

"Being circumcised seems to help protect people somewhat from
catching some venereal diseases.  We are told that uncircumcised
men were still more likely than circumcised men to catch HIV,
even if they had never had a sexual disease."  Our question is
where?  In Kenya where most of the males are uncircumcised? 
There is little evidence to support that this claim is true when
we compare statistics in the U.S.A. with those of Europe.  Why
would studies not have been made in the U.S.A. or Canada where
the samples would consist of a typical population of females,
rather than prostitutes?  The results of a study of AIDS among
circumcised and uncircumcised males in America would certainly
have had greater credibility.

The speculation that non-circumcised men may have more breaks in
their foreskin which may cause the penetration of a virus, are
totally ludicrous.  Are they also suggesting that if there are no
breaks in the foreskin that males would not pick up the HIV
virus?  If so then why such an increase in AIDS in the U.S.A.
where the majority of males are circumcised?  There is little
evidence in the medical literature to indicate that circumcision
prevents penile cancer, cancer of the cervix, V.D. or any other
disease.

The Leader Post recently carried another article (printed herein)
describing a different scenario which could have been the locale
of an AIDS study.  Although it is hypothetical at the moment, the
location (Israel) described in the article could have very likely
been an area where researchers could have based their studies. 
It would have been very interesting to see what conclusions those
researchers may have reached.

The story occurs in a nation where most of the males are
circumcised.  It involves thousands of men who have had sex with
a prostitute infected with AIDS.  While the situation is true,
the effects of the AIDS virus will probably take several years in
order to take its course.

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HOOKER SPREAD AIDS TO THOUSANDS:
     
Jerusalem (AP) – A prostitute who was tested for AIDS
but never picked up results showing she was HIV-
positive has since had sex with thousands of men, an
Israeli newspaper reported.
     
Rachel Nissani, 23, of Tel Aviv, found out a month ago
when she had another test that she was carrying the
AIDS virus, the paper said.
     
Nissani said that since her first AIDS test in January
1991 she had sex with at least six men a day to finance
a heroin habit.

(Leader Post, February 25, 1993)
     
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Boston (AP) – Men who have genital sores or who are circumcised
have a much greater risk of catching AIDS during sexual
intercourse with infected women, a study concludes.

The research, conducted in Israel, suggests that the prevalence
of some sexually transmitted diseases, the common use of
prostitutes, and the higher frequency of circumcision may help
explain why AIDS has spread widely through heterosexual contact
in parts of Europe, where up to a quarter of sexually active
adults in some cities are infected.  Etc. Etc.

**The article above might have been written suggesting that
circumcised males are actually more vulnerable to AIDS than
uncircumcised males.

Lets consider the facts.  Are not most males circumcised in
Israel?  Is it not almost certain that most of these males will
contract AIDS?  Would either the presence or the absence of
lesions, or breaks in the foreskin really make any difference? 
Is not the risk of contracting AIDS almost a certainty in either
case?

Could the researchers not have concluded that circumcised males
were more vulnerable to lesions and tears?  As they do not have
the protection of the foreskin, could not researchers conclude
that circumcised males are more likely to contract the HIV virus? 
This would be a more logical conclusion as studies have indicated
that circumcised males have accumulated greater numbers of
certain types of bacteria on their penises than non-circumcised
males.  Would this not indicate that the foreskin does offer
protection against bacterial and viral infections contrary to the
theory postulated by the researchers?

Might not the results of the study in Israel be similar to, and
just as valid as those drawn up in the Kenya study?  The
conclusion could indicate, contrary to the Kenya study, that
circumcised males exposed to prostitutes with the AIDS virus
would certainly be more likely to contract the AIDS virus.  When
one considers what the conclusion might have been if a different
sample were selected such as the case hypothesized above, one has
to seriously question the study in Kenya.

Perhaps the studies in a different locale would in fact indicate
that circumcised males are more susceptible to AIDS than non-
circumcised males.  If this were the situation, imagine the
impact such a study would have on those who are trying
desperately to prove a link between circumcision as a protective
measure for AIDS, urinary tract infections, and who knows what
next?

Whether the studies have any validity is not really important. 
The media once again got the message that there just may be some
validity to circumcision.  One has to throw a little wood on the
fires from time to time to make sure the fire doesn't go out. 
It's business as usual in our hospitals.


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AMERICAN JOURNAL OF DISEASES OF CHILDREN
Vol. 140, No. 1
January 1986
Page 9

Circumcision

Sir:  Swafford's updating of estimated penile cancer risks in
uncircumcised US males--1 in 602 in 1980 to 1 in 909 Danish males
in 1985--provides an interesting basis of comparison.  The often-
overlooked fact is that, taking the Danish data, 908 of 909
Danish males will not be at risk of penile cancer.

Edward Wallerstein
225 W. 106th St.
New York, NY  10025

Swafford TD:  Circumcision and the risk of cancer of the penis. 
AJDC 1985; 139:112.

In reply:  I concur with Wallerstein's observation.  As he
recently stated, "The threat of penile cancer hangs over the
discussion of circumcision like some mystical demon.  It deserves
to be exorcised, not circumcised."

T.D. Swafford, M.D.
Group Health Medical Center
200 15th Ave. E.
Seattle, WA  99112
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PROSTATE CANCER:

Several decades ago numerous studies were given to prove that
circumcision would prevent prostate cancer.  The arguments were
very convincing as are most arguments promoting circumcision.

What are the results today?  Prostate cancer is the second
greatest cause of death today, soon to surpass the leading cause
of death in males (heart attack).  Today when most American males
have been circumcised, according to the proponents of
circumcision, prostate cancer should have disappeared.  However,
several studies clearly indicate that the prime cause of prostate
cancer is probably the failure of males to get rid of excess
seminal fluids which stagnate and invade the prostate cells and
fuse with their nuclei, giving rise to malignant changes.

The price to pay for tampering with the design of the male body
seems to be taking its toll on males in numerous ways.
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IMPOTENCY:

Again, the rate of impotency in American males is unparalleled in
any other nation.  It is estimated that over 30,000 penile
implants have been implanted in American males to date.

What is the cause of impotency?  Perhaps one need not look too
far.  Many physicians indicate that impotency is probably caused
by penile damage suffered in infancy.  The supposition is that
the damage was caused by some accident which the male encountered
as a child, or by physical damage during intercourse.

Never is circumcision mentioned as a probably cause of either of
these situations.  It is during circumcision that a major vein to
the glans, and the frenulum is destroyed, along with very
sensitive foreskin laden with millions of sensory receptors.  The
glans penis subsequently becomes cornified and dry, and may
contribute to penile damage during intercourse.  Why is impotency
so great in circumcised males, while the non-circumcised males
seldom suffer comparable problems even in old age?  Of course the
advocates of circumcision would deny this.  Adult males
circumcised in infancy are now revealing a multitude of
complications or injuries sustained during circumcision.  Wasn't
circumcision supposed to prevent problems in the future?
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URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS (UTI):

A study by Thomas Wisell conducted in an American military
hospital concluded that uncircumcised infants were 10 to 20 times
more likely to have urinary tract infections than circumcised
infants.

The methodology employed in the study and the results are
questionable.  In over 200,000 male infants the numbers of
urinary tract infections were so insignificant that no reputable
doctor would have found any purpose for conducting such a study,
or had concern for the insignificant cases of urinary tract
bacteria which obviously didn't manifest itself with dangerous
symptoms requiring treatment.  This was a study obviously
designed to confirm the need for circumcision.

Out of 28 cases of UTI, 4 were circumcised and 24 were not.  Many
of the uncircumcised males also had congenital problems which may
have contributed to the infections.

Observations about Wisell's research:

It is a fact circumcision does not eliminate UTI's, even if all
males were circumcised.  Urinary tract infections are rare in
most males and hardly ever occur.  Why would we circumcise
100,000 males in order to prevent an insignificant number of
urinary tract infections?  Are UTI fatal in males and thereby a
cause of great concern?  If antibiotics are effective in treating
UTI in females, cannot antibiotics be similarly used to treat UTI
in males?  Why would the amputation of a vital organ be required
to prevent possible urinary tract infections?

The findings in the military hospital do not concur with the
incidence of UTI in males elsewhere.  Why was the incidence much
greater in the military hospital?

Why were parents instructed to retract the foreskins of intact
males?  This is not an acceptable procedure and may contribute to
very serious problems, much worse than UTI.

Why were catheters inserted in order to remove urine?  If males
did indeed have urinary tract infections, did these infections
not create visual symptoms which would make these conditions
obvious, without the necessity of taking urine samples?

Did the males who had traces of bacteria (which cause UTI) suffer
from any physical conditions which required treatment?  Or were
these bacteria merely present, posing no health problems, and
requiring no treatment?  If so, what was the concern?  Is
circumcision necessary merely to ensure that males do not
contract the bacteria, even if few symptoms appear?

In the Wisell study, 200,000 females were also included in this
study.  Results indicated that nearly twice the number of females
had urinary tract infections in comparison with the males.  There
was no great alarm over this fact.  Why is it that only males are
targeted for mutilation just because a few males happen to
possess bacteria which may cause urinary tract infections?

     Roy Isabell from Mobile, Alabama made the following
          comments in Shop Talk Newsletter:
     
"Most articles report the recent Brooks Army Hospital
     study indicating slight urinary tract infections in
     uncircumcised infants, but say nothing about the larger
     Kaiser-Permanente Hospital studies which refute that. 
     They also fail to mention that in the Brooks study the
     babies' foreskins were forcibly retracted, a daily
     cleansing regimen contrary to AAP policy to leave the
     foreskin alone.  This is a surprising point, since the
     physician's manipulation itself could have caused the
     increased UTI, according to doctors such as Paul Fleis
     of California.  Because in the UTI study two
     uncircumcised babies died, it's logical that those
     misguided doctors would have a vested interest in
     blaming the foreskin.  If a baby girl's hymen were
     broken prematurely and her vagina scrubbed daily, would
          she fare as well?
     
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IT IS IMPORTANT THAT HE RESEMBLE HIS FATHER OR HIS PEERS:

This is another argument supposedly to consider in circumcision. 
Would this argument be a valid reason in favor of female
circumcision in Africa where it is still very prevalent?

Most of the males over 50, the fathers of current fathers, were
never circumcised.  Why was not this reason important when most
males were intact?  Or is it valid only when it supports
circumcision?  Why is this reason seldom given in countries such
as Canada where the circumcision rate has rapidly declined and
where most males are intact?  If valid, circumcision should have
reached zero level in Canada years ago.

Circumcision was once prevalent in Britain however, it declined
rapidly in a few years.  Why was this logic not important to
British males, but somehow very important to American males? 
Should not outmoded forms of medical treatment be discontinued
when there are no valid medical reasons for them?

Is not circumcision of an infant male in reality of greater
importance to the father, who because he was a victim, wishes to
deprive his son of something he himself was denied?  Do fathers
and son regularly share their penises making similarities
important?  What about baldness which is dominant in males?  Is
it not likewise important if the father becomes bald, his son
should also shave his head?  If resembling one's peers is so
important, why do many males seek hair restoration or purchase
hair pieces when most males have some sort of baldness?  Seeking
hair restoration hardly supports the theory that males need to
appear similar in order to achieve emotional satisfaction. 
Rather it supports the argument of retaining one's normal body
features as long as possible.  If a visual comparison, such as
hair color, lack of hair, etc. is not important, then why would
non-visible resemblances have such great importance?
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HE MAY REQUIRE IT LATER:

What evidence is there that any male may require it later?  Why
should males have the certainty of having painful surgery now,
because there may be some remote possibility of having it done
later in life?  Would it not be preferable to endure some pain
only if the surgery is required?  There are numerous parts of the
body which create far more serious problems.  Why should any male
be subjected to the amputation of a part of his body which in all
likelihood may never pose a single problem during his entire
lifetime?

Do parents really have the right to amputate a normal, healthy
part of a non-consenting individual just because this organ may
someday present a problem?  If so, how far does this rationale
extend?  Just the foreskin?
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CIRCUMCISION IS STILL POPULAR – OR GAINING POPULARITY:

Female circumcision in Africa is still popular.  Should we
likewise use this reason to condone or ignore its practice, or do
we not as intelligent human beings have the right to demand an
end to it, regardless how popular the practice may be?  Should we
condone sexual assault of females in America just because one out
of every four are victims?  Drug abuse is also very prevalent--
Does this fact give drug abuse credibility?  Does the fact that
any practice exists mean that we should allow it to continue
without questioning its usefulness or validity?
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PENILE CANCER:

We find articles which indicate that uncircumcised males are more
likely to have penile cancer than circumcised males.  In this
case the research is primarily based on the American population
of males.  Again let us analyze the basis of this research.

An indisputable fact is that penile cancer is rare in both
circumcised and uncircumcised males.  There is actually very
little reason for concern in either case.  Penile cancer seldom
occurs in males under 80 years of age, and the cancer rate is
about 1 in 100,000 when males reach 80 years of age.  If it does
occur, it is treatable in the same manner as cancer of any other
part of the body.

Penile cancer rates in most European countries such as Britain,
Denmark, Sweden, etc. (where most males are uncircumcised) are no
higher than they are in the U.S.A.  In some cases the numbers are
actually lower.  However, the proponents of circumcision are
careful not to make this comparison, because it would destroy
their argument that circumcision prevents cancer.

Most American males over 50 years of age are uncircumcised and
are reaching the age where they may develop cancer.  The majority
of males under the age of 50 are circumcised and are in the age
group not likely to develop penile cancer.  To conclude that
because most of the cases of penile cancer have developed in
uncircumcised males, circumcision is a preventative measure is
ludicrous.  A valid comparison can only be made with males within
the same age group.  To determine whether circumcision actually
prevents penile cancer, a comparison of statistics will have to
be made when the circumcised males eventually reach the age group
when penile cancer occurs.

The findings may reveal a very different scenario.  Just as the
advocates of circumcision vehemently predicted that circumcision
would prevent prostate cancer, so too may the findings be
contrary to present claims.  The incidence of penile cancer may
actually be higher when the present population of males reach the
vulnerable age.  Males may find that circumcision did not protect
them from penile cancer.

Perhaps those who advocated that circumcision would prevent
prostate cancer should state why their predictions were wrong. 
From the current trends, it appears that the claim of preventing
penile cancer through circumcision is no more valid.  It is
becoming more evident that the advocates of circumcision will use
every conceivable method to legitimize this practice.  It was
easier to tear down the statues of Lenin and the Berlin Wall than
to try and end an outrage that has no place in modern medicine.
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INSTEAD OF FINDING REASONS TO LEGITIMIZE CIRCUMCISION, WE SHOULD
BE DOING WHAT WE CAN TO END THE PRACTICE:

Many doctors are seeking ways to end the pain of circumcision. 
The only sure way to end the pain of circumcision is to stop
circumcising.

We study the effects of birth trauma upon infants and do
everything possible to minimize it.  However, the advocates of
circumcision refuse to admit that circumcision would compound the
birth trauma.  The U.S.A. has the 12th highest infant mortality
rate among the most affluent nations of the world.  The highest
mortality rate is also amongst infant males.

Sixty per cent of all SIDS deaths are among infant males, 80% of
them circumcised.  Are we certain that circumcision does not
contribute to the death or disability of infants in any manner? 
Or is the greater vulnerability of infant males of no concern to
the medical community?

About 75% of all learning disabilities are found in males.  At
one time students with learning problems accounted for about 5%
of the student population.  Today the number of students with
learning disabilities is nearly 25%.  Recent studies indicate
that there is a direct correlation between learning disabilities
and circumcision.

The reasons to mutilate are endless, and tragically whenever one
tries to convince others that there is no need for circumcision,
you will always hear statements such as these:  "Yes, we know
that there are no valid reasons for circumcision, but we did it
anyway."  Or, "The only reason why males object to circumcision
is because we haven't done a good enough job explaining it to
them."  I wonder how receptive these statements would have been
if the individual was female instead of male?

It is our hope that you will be enlightened as a result of this
publication and demand an end to circumcision.  Males who for
decades remained silent, are now speaking out, more vocally than
ever.  They won't be silenced or intimidated by anyone, even
those who sincerely believe what they are doing is best for their
sons.  "Enough is enough", they are saying.  "And what part of NO
of sexual assault do members of the medical profession who still
circumcise not understand?"
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CIRCUMCISION WOULD PREVENT MASTURBATION:

One of the most prevalent reasons for circumcision was that it
was supposed to prevent masturbation.  Males were to get rid of
excess fluids by nocturnal emissions.

Rev. Edward A. Molloy, associate provost of the University of
Notre Dame once said:  "There has been a significant change in
the evaluation of masturbation by the Catholic Church.  At one
time, masturbation, petting and various forms of orgasmic
behavior were viewed as equally sinful."

"In recent years, however, moral theologians have challenged that
position and masturbation now is seen as a relatively common form
of sexual release.  In most cases, individual acts of
masturbation do not involve the moral quality of the person in
such a way that it constitutes a serious offense.  Rather, it is
a habit, and expression of the power of the sexual drive."

Numerous studies also indicate that masturbation plays an
important function in relieving excess and stagnant fluids which
may indeed harm the body.  Circumcising the male may be
preventing the male from doing precisely what nature had
intended.  Some believe that nocturnal emissions are the only
moral way for the body to get rid of excess seminal fluids.  We
would not accept nocturnal urination or the nocturnal defecation
of eliminating body wastes as being natural, so why must
nocturnal emissions be the only method of voiding waste? 
Prostate cancer may be one of the results of circumcision, and
which masturbation may have been designed to prevent.
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Courtesy:
Mr. John Sawkey
Medical Ethics Network
Box 578
Yorkton, Saskatchewan
S3N 2W7


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