Remember back to October when I wrote about this story:
In its statement, USAID said the funding “should not have occurred, and there will be no further circumcisions performed with U.S. Government funds until the PEPFAR Scientific Steering Committee reviews data from ongoing clinical trials and considers any recommendations on male circumcision from the normative international Agencies.” PEPFAR is the Bush anti-AIDS program.
I guess the “results” are in. Were they even in doubt?
President Bush’s $15 billion anti-AIDS program will begin investing [SIC!] significant money in making circumcision available to African men seeking to protect themselves from HIV, top U.S. health officials said Sunday.
Recent research showing that circumcision dramatically cuts the rate of HIV infection is highly convincing [ed. note: <sarcasm>I’m shocked.</sarcasm>], a delegation of U.S. officials, led by Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, told reporters in Johannesburg.
Countries taking part in the President’s Emergency Program For AIDS Relief have been invited to seek money to expand access to the procedure.
If you want to know how carefully our $15,000,000,000 will be spent, guess:
Circumcision funding would be small at first, with budgets in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for individual countries. But it is likely to grow to be “an important part” of the program in coming months and years, said Kent R. Hill, an assistant administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Small at first, but likely to grow in the coming months. Surely we’ll have a definitive answer by then.
The cells in the foreskin of a penis are especially vulnerable [ed. note: Are we sure?] to HIV, and removing the foreskin makes a man about 60 percent less likely to contract the virus, studies in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda have shown. The research reinforces studies showing that regions with high circumcision rates generally have lower rates of HIV.
About those regions… “Generally” isn’t enough, unless you’re world health experts or the United States government. Then definitive proof isn’t necessary, nor is the obvious point that $15,000,000,000 buys a lot of condoms, which have a definitive, significantly higher success rate at preventing HIV, pregnancy, and other STDs than male circumcision’s “about 60%”. I’m sure the Bush administration is waiting for “broad international consensus” on the issue of condoms and their effectiveness.
As I said in October:
I’m not sure where funding AIDS prevention in Africa falls within the Constitutional responsibilities granted to the United States government, but that’s not my issue.
Today, it’s my issue. Where is funding
AIDS prevention circumcision in Africa noted within the Constitution? Which article grants that power? All of the immoral actions of our government weren’t enough, so we had to have this? Really?
Of course, what could possibly go wrong with government handling HIV/AIDS policy? I’m sure our $15,000,000,000 will be spent wisely. It sure will buy a lot of garlic, beetroot, lemons and African potatoes.
Unfortunately, this is also support for another belief of mine. There is a push within the anti-circumcision movement to promote a single-payer health care system in the United States because it would presumably require the bureaucrats to stop funding unnecessary surgeries to fund necessary medical care. This will not work because our politicians are short-sighted. They make decisions for political gain. As long as there is a desire by parents to hack away parts of their sons and an ignorant
denial of science and ethics acceptance that this is okay, infant circumcision will continue in America. It doesn’t matter if it’s funded by insurance, government, or parents. It will continue. Just because rationing decisions must be made does not mean that rational decisions will be made.
The worst part of this is easy to predict. This money will be used to fund infant circumcisions, regardless of what the parties involved are now claiming. That’s just the inevitable line of (non-)thinking from public health officials. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have seen the push for infant circumcision six days after the latest findings on voluntary, adult circumcision were released in December. Voluntary and adult always get lost. Always.