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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  July 2007

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE July 2007

Subject:

Re: HIV/AIDS Experts Swear by Circumcision

From:

Eric Entemann <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 24 Jul 2007 13:14:05 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (138 lines)

It is odd that this article makes no mention of the risks associated with 
adult circumcision.  It is quite definitely not a trivial procedure, and it 
can have a long recovery period.  And any surgical procedure on anyone can 
be risky when aseptic technique is inadequate.  The analogy made with taking 
a pill or getting a shot is weak.

----Original Message Follows----
From: Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List              
<[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: HIV/AIDS Experts Swear by Circumcision
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2007 08:45:09 -0500

http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=38643

Tuesday, July 24, 2007   13:43 GMT

HEALTH:
HIV/AIDS Experts Swear by Circumcision

Neena Bhandari

SYDNEY, Jul 24 (IPS) - Male circumcision could prevent millions of new HIV 
infections a year, delegates at the 4th International AIDS Society (IAS) 
Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention were told here on 
Tuesday.

Over 45 observational studies, three clinical trials and several biological 
studies all provide compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces HIV 
transmission from women to men by about 60 percent, according to Prof. 
Robert Bailey, the lead speaker at a plenary session.

"In the highest prevalence areas, the impact of circumcision would be 
greatest, and the intervention would be highly cost-effective," said Bailey 
of the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois.

Estimates from studies show millions of new HIV infections could be averted 
in sub-Saharan Africa if substantial proportions of men were circumcised. 
Studies suggest that widespread male circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa 
could prevent 5.7 million new cases of the disease and 3 million deaths over 
20 years.

Bailey, who has devoted most of his research activities on the issue of male 
circumcision as a possible HIV prevention strategy since 1995, said 
uncircumcised men were two-and-a-half times more likely to contract the 
virus from female partners, based on random control trials conducted in 
parts of Africa, hardest hit by the epidemic.

"There is mounting evidence of its efficacy in preventing new HIV 
infections. One cannot help but contemplate that if it were a drug or a 
compound or a shot with a label, international agencies and donors would 
have been fighting to be the first to make it available many months, even 
years, ago," says Bailey, who has conducted circumcision-related studies in 
varying communities in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, as well as in the U.S.

He said the incidents of the disease among heterosexual men could be reduced 
by up to 9 percent over 10 years, if 50 percent of the men were circumcised 
in parts of South Africa. "In other words, circumcision could drive the 
epidemic to a declining state toward extinction, ''Bailey said.

He urged local governments to "make safe, affordable, voluntary circumcision 
available now." He said younger men would like to get circumcised, but ''the 
service is not widely available and there is no funding.''

Male circumcision is probably the oldest surgical procedure, dating back to 
at least 2300 BC in Egypt. Today, about 30 percent of men in the world are 
circumcised, with about 67 percent of them in Africa.

Circumcision is not just a health-related intervention, it is tied to a 
complex web of cultural and religious beliefs and practices. Bailey said, 
''Studies have shown that women are in favour of circumcision because of 
improved hygiene. As circumcision becomes more widely accepted through 
impetus by women, the age of males when they are circumcised will decline. 
Mothers are going to be major drivers in pushing infant circumcision.''

In a statement issued in February 2007, the World Health Organisation (WHO) 
and the UNAIDS Secretariat welcomed the detailed findings of two trials 
undertaken in Kenya and Uganda to determine whether male circumcision has a 
protective effect against acquiring HIV infection.

The findings of the two trials supported the results of the South Africa 
Orange Farm Intervention Trial. Together the three studies, which enrolled 
more than 10,000 participants, provide compelling evidence of a 50 to 60 
percent reduction in heterosexual HIV transmission to men.

"These findings are a very important contribution to HIV prevention science. 
Male circumcision has major potential for the prevention of HIV infection", 
Kevin De Cock, director of the WHO HIV/AIDS department had said in the 
statement.

However, the WHO warns that male circumcision does not offer complete 
protection against HIV. Men should still use condoms, adhere to abstinence, 
reduce the number of sexual partners and delay the start of sexual activity.

Organisers of the IAS 2007 are calling for greater vigilance to ensure 
universal access to HIV prevention and treatment, and prolonged research to 
inform and strengthen the global response to HIV.

IAS president and the conference co-chair Dr Pedro Cahn said, "With fewer 
than one-third of people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries 
having access to life-saving medications, and still fewer with access to 
proven prevention services, such as condoms and sterile syringes, the goal 
of universal access by 2010 must remain a priority.''

"Science has given us the tools to prevent and treat HIV effectively. The 
fact that we have not yet translated this science into practice is a 
shameful failure,'' added Cahn, who is the Director of Fundación Huesped in 
Argentina.

Emphasising that "good research drives good policy and programming," the IAS 
and Australasian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM) last week issued the Sydney 
Declaration, a global sign-on letter that urges governments and donors to 
allocate 10 percent of all resources dedicated to HIV programming for 
research.

Earlier, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy 
and Infectious Diseases in the United States and a key adviser to the White 
House on HIV, told reporters to stop talking about cures for AIDS. He said, 
''This is a hugely exciting time in the world of AIDS research. We've got 
incredibly potent treatments on the horizon, possible vaccines in the 
pipeline and new options for using these things in ways we haven't before. 
But as for a cure, let's just stop talking about it."

The U.S. has reported 40,000 annual infections consistently for 14 years. In 
Australia, the rate has doubled in the past seven years, from 500 annual new 
infections in 2000 to almost 1,000 in present day.

Some 5,000 delegates from 133 countries will also learn about new knowledge 
of HIV pathogenesis and the mechanisms through which HIV causes immune 
deficiency; operations research detailing what we've learned, to date, about 
what is working on the ground in communities across the globe; and updates 
on the clinical implications of an ageing population of people living with 
HIV, as well as on paediatric treatment issues.

_________________________________________________________________
http://newlivehotmail.com

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