Friday, August 24, 2012
My thoughts ahead of the AAP statement
If the AAP changes their stance to recommend circumcision in whole or in part based on the African trials and STD risk, they are going to have massive amounts of egg of their face as the stats come in that the circ campaign over there is having the opposite effect and is in fact largely to blame for an increase in HIV rates. Why? Its obvious. Circumcision does not in any way protect against HIV. However, the impression the campaign is giving, rightly or wrongly, is that it is an AIDS vaccine. The men who hear *that* message are the ones getting cut. The ones who listen more closely and realize that you still need to use condoms whether or not you are cut are *not* the ones getting cut - because what's the point? So you have an encouragement of risk behaviors. Not only that, but a not insignificant source of HIV infection in Africa is iatrogenic from improperly sterilized equipment. Many men will get HIV simply from the procedure itself, as any procedure involving needles in Africa involves risk.
So if the AAP softens their stance, they will quickly need another revision. It will be short-lived.
The truth is this is an emotionally fraught issue with a lot of people with a lot at stake in legitimizing circumcision because the alternative is inconceivable and unacceptable. It would mean that they have engaged in genital mutilation (YES I USE THAT WORD) for absolutely no good reason and it makes them terribly uncomfortable.
Which is why I just think everyone who's done it in the past, sincerely believing that it was for the child's own good should get a pass. Fine. You did what you thought was best. It's fine. Let it go. Forget about it. But moving forward, the people who should know better, have all the information right there at their fingertips and refuse to *see* it, at the expense of future children... well, you don't get a pass. You should be willing to go through a little emotional discomfort in order to save a child from physical torture.