Jan. 29th Update: I want to clarify that this entry – and DK’s at The Kvetcher – is based on an educated guess. I’ve seen nothing explicitly confirming that PEPFAR (i.e. you and me) will be paying for infant circumcisions in Rwanda. But it defies logic to assume that the United States government will not fund at least a portion of this. We’ve already funded circumcision in Africa in the past, and the Bush Administration only halted that nonsense temporarily.
Regardless, the statistics on HIV and circumcision in Rwanda stand independent of my guesswork. End Update.
Via The Kvetcher, I’m sure you’ll join me in being not surprised to discover who is paying for the new mass circumcision plan in Rwanda that explicitly includes children: you and me, as taxpayers, through PEPFAR.
Additional Funding: In June 2007, an additional $10,600,000 was allocated to further strengthen activities in HIV/TB, PMTCT, Treatment, OVC, SI and Care. The additional funds will also support innovative wrap-around programs targeting PLWHA in the areas of food, micro-economic activities and safe water, as well as new medical male circumcision activities.
Remember how PEPFAR designed its plan to spend money our money?
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.
I’m sure I was just being hysterical when I wrote:
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.
Look at the plan in Rwanda. Even where they remembered adult (soldiers and police officers), they dumped voluntary. The desire to “help” here is wrapped in control, fuzzy feelings, and the spread of one specific American custom to future generations. There is no concern for individual rights, the single most important American custom worth spreading.
And about that public health help… From MEASURE DHS, a statistic, which the report¹ provides the conclusion in a neat summary. (Found via the first comment to The Kvetcher’s post.)
15.3.6 HIV Prevalence and Male Circumcision
The RDHS-III included questions on whether men had been circumcised. These data can be used to examine possible relationships between HIV prevalence and male circumcision. Among men age 15 to 59 who were tested for HIV, 9 percent had been circumcised.
Table 15.11 indicates higher prevalence of HIV among circumcised males (3.5 percent) than among uncircumcised males (2.1 percent). This pattern is found for all sociodemographic variables, except urban residence, where prevalence among circumcised men (5.0 percent) is slightly lower than among uncircumcised men (5.7 percent).
The facts, although interesting, are clearly irrelevant. When one can appear to act logically, there is no need to worry whether or not that act is logical. Thus always with public policy. Infants be damned.
¹ Institut National de la Statistique du Rwanda (INSR) and ORC Macro. 2006. Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey 2005. Calverton, Maryland, U.S.A.: INSR and ORC Macro.