Education Without Understanding

Here’s a story about a male who decides to have himself circumcised:

“It was a thing I had wanted to do for so long – I work in the health sector so I’d been reading books, discovering the importance of one getting circumcised, that’s why I decided to come.

“Mostly I was interested in the healthier status – the better hygiene, the partial prevention of HIV [in men] and the [possible] lesser chance of infecting your partner [with the human papillomavirus, linked to cervical cancer].

“I talked to my fiancée to say I wanted to get circumcised, because sometimes ladies say, ‘Why?’ I … [explained] why I wanted to go for circumcision and she accepted it.

“I talked to her about [having to wait six weeks for the wound to heal before having sex]. It’s a thing that we needed to discuss, when it comes to that, so that she should not get surprised as to why this thing is not happening – she was expecting to wait.

“It wasn’t difficult to talk to her but, again, this is a girl that I would like to marry. [Also,] we are not in that situation where we are staying together; she stays at her parents’ and I stay at my house … maybe with married couples sometimes it may be difficult.

This is where rote memorization of the biased propaganda surrounding non-therapeutic circumcision is a dangerous problem. This man is engaged, so he’s presumably monogamous with his fiancée. What benefit will he receive from the potential for circumcision to reduce the risk of HIV or HPV transmission? If he and his fiancée are currently free of both, circumcision will have no benefit unless one of them has sex with another individual, one who is infected with HIV and/or HPV. Effectively, he’s surrendered to hysteria. (And his story is being used to sell circumcision on the same grounds.) I don’t wish to imply that this is what advocates of non-therapeutic circumcision want, but it’s the predictable, unacceptable result when relevant facts and context are ignored (or rejected).

Post Script: Given this man’s stated reasons, hygiene is still on the table. In a world with access to running water, this isn’t a concern unless he doesn’t bathe regularly. I assume he does, but if not, then the issue is not with his foreskin.