In Case the Message Hasn’t Gone Out Already

Let’s see if we can decipher the convenient omissions as the Associated Press builds this story. First, the title:

Circumcision urged to fight HIV

Nothing new there to deviate from previous reporting. Stupid, but consistent as it flows into the lede:

U.N. health agencies recommended Wednesday that heterosexual men undergo circumcision because of “compelling” evidence that it can reduce their chances of contracting HIV by up to 60 percent.

At least they’re saying men, but they might be forgetting a few key qualifications. But who needs to read further. We now know what to do. Even if the marketing is flawed.

The public health impact is likely to be most rapid where there is a high rate of HIV infection among men having sex with women.

More study also is required to find out whether male circumcision will reduce HIV infection in homosexual intercourse, it said, but it said promoting circumcision of HIV-positive men was not recommended.

The studies reviewed male circumcision’s alleged protective impact on the transmission of HIV from infected women to HIV-free men. Nothing more. To promote otherwise is unethical. But why should ethics matter when this is buried in the middle of the article where it can be easily avoided by those who skim the beginning looking for a justification to perpetuate what they already want to do.

“It was therefore recommended that countries with high prevalence, generalized heterosexual HIV epidemics that currently have low rates of male circumcision consider urgently scaling up access to male circumcision services,” the agencies said.

I’m trying to think of a country that does not fit that description, but for the life of me I’m drawing a blank. Could it possibly be the United States? Oh, wait… it is? What an oversight. Accidental, I’m sure.

Within those countries that fit the criteria, where other methods of known prevention would work, what’s the suggestion for implementing this not-really-a-solution-solution?

Priority should be given to providing circumcision to age groups at highest risk of acquiring HIV because it will have the most immediate impact on the disease. But, it said, circumcising younger males also will have a public health impact over the longer term.

Younger males is a new euphemism for infants. That’s not what the U.N. is saying, but it’s what it means. It knows that if it gets children circumcised, those males are much more likely to impose the surgery on their own children, regardless of its ethical flaws (and efficacy). Who needs ethics when you have good intentions?