J. Steven Svoboda, founder and executive director of:
discusses the curious medical history of circumcision, and the recent attempts by circumcision proponents [to rationalize circumcision as a solution] to HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Stephen Lewis of the Stephen Lewis Foundation solicits funds to enforce genital mutilation on infant boys in Africa.
In his YouTube videos, Lewis claims [that] male circumcision is an “inspired preventive technology” [for reducing] the spread of AIDS.
Stephen Lewis calls opponents of circumcision “male sexists”.
[Because] Mr. Lewis refuses criticism in the form of comments or video responses, this video is dedicated to the open conversation [about the non-existent connection between] male circumcision and HIV.
About a century and a half ago, doctors in America came up with this idea that male circumcision might cure essentially all known diseases; masturbation was thought to be a moral problem, [and] it was thought that promoting “moral hygiene” would also promote “health hygiene”. So, by circumcising [children], you would then [eradicate] every disease under the sun:
- stomach infection
- chicken pox
- hernias spinal
- moral depravity
- arthritic hips
- [normal physiologic] phimosis
- curvature of the spine
- paralysis of the bladder
- balanitis [(really, it doesn't)]
- penile cancer [(it doesn't really; besides, it's rarer than male breast cancer)]
- prostate cancer
- urinary tract infections [(there's no real evidence, and females are many times more prone)]
- cervical cancer [(it's caused by HPV, for which there is a vaccine)]
- rectal prolapse
- yeast infections
- sexual dysfunction in later life
As time marched on, gradually one rationale for circumcision got replaced by another, and the process has continued up to the present day. The latest rationale is [preventing] HIV, and [this particular rationale] is wrong in so many ways [that] it's hard to know where to begin [explaining].
First of all, the number of new infections [is] already declining. Now, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be alarmed about HIV, [or] that it shouldn't be something people are worried about and working on; I'm not saying that, but I am just saying that the epidemic is controlling itself through forces that are beyond any one researcher, any one country, [and] any one individual's actions.
HIV ocurrs to adults.
Now, of course, infants can be born to infected mothers and can get it that way, but typically HIV is transmitted through sexual activity—at least if we're talking about Africa; it's transmitted through sexual activity—[though], it's often transmitted also through [the] use of infected needles [for which circumcision does nothing], and that can also happen in the U.S., as well. One of the main [sources of] HIV in Africa is actually [the] health clinic [system], which is certainly not true in the U.S.
Doctors [in Africa] performed these three highly flawed “studies” [that supposedly show circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection]. Many of us saw [the conclusion] coming: They tried to take these studies on:
adults in Africa
and generalize them to:
infants in the U.S.
First of all, the U.S. is not Africa, as we've already discussed. Secondly, infants are not going to be sexually active for presumably 15 to 18 years; to say that you should cut healthy tissue out of an infant to stop possible, highly speculative infection that could possibly happen from sexual activity 15 to 18 years in the future (when there may be other cures for the condition at that point) is just lunacy.
It just boggles the mind that people can even propose [circumcision to prevent HIV] with a straight face, and yet the World Health Organization [(WHO)] has [given support to the notion]. Numerous other organizations have [also given the notion support] based on the advocacy—and it really is advocacy—by “first world” physicians.
To those of us who have been working [for years] to try to protect childen [from genital cutting abuses], this [support from such organizations] was not out of the blue, but it was very disheartening and sad; we had to observe a highjacking of the HIV issue.
Again, I mean, obviously millions of people throughout the world have suffered seriously and have died from [HIV] throughout the years, and to cynically take [the issue] and try to use this as a reason to cut perfectly healthy babies in the U.S. is just shocking in its cynicism—it really is.
One can only speculate as to what the next justification [for circumcision] is going to be once the HIV myth—and when I say “myth”, I mean the myth that circumcision [is a useful tool for stopping] transmission of HIV in the U.S—when that myth is blown apart, one can only wonder what the next justification for circumcision will be; we'll find out, because sooner or later, we'll disprove the myth that HIV is going to be stopped by circumcising babies.Condoms prevent AIDS; circumcision does not.