A dose of common sense.

Newsweek interviewed Dr. John Bartlett, chief of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins, for its article “2007: Another Year of AIDS“. I know, with a title like that, how could the reader not be optimistic? Anyway, I think this is useful to note:

So how are we faring in lowering HIV transmission rates?
There are some promising studies that have been done or are being done now. The circumcision and the antiretroviral therapy for [HIV-positive] breastfeeding women [to prevent transmission to the baby] studies were a great success. Though, while circumcision might be very good at lowering the rates in places where not a lot of circumcisions are being done now, that’s not the case in the U.S. or in many other countries …

Advocates of forcing circumcision onto sexually-inactive infant males to prevent HIV always notice the first part of Dr. Bartlett’s statement and ignore the qualification that the U.S. does not meet the criteria from the studies everyone is now touting.

And notice the use of “might be very good” for non-circumcising nations, an acknowledgment that (voluntary, adult) male circumcision is not a vaccine. Looked at honestly, circumcision is little more than a distraction from the problem and its real cause(s).

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