Reader comments · Circumcision may not affect HIV rates in gay men · PinkNews

Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.


Circumcision may not affect HIV rates in gay men

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. The Grinch 10 Mar 2010, 3:30pm

    “Circumcision may not have much effect on gay men”?! If anyone held my pecker and took a knife to it I can assure you it would have an effect similar to a Tsunami, the Great Fire of London, a meteorite hitting Manhattan or a 5 year old girl’s reaction to having her pet kitten trodden on….knob meddlers!

  2. Personally, I can’t stand the sight of an uncut “knob”, as The Grinch puts it so beautifully.

    But lets not start the age old debate again because it always ends in tears. I don’t think this research adds anything to the fight against HIV/Aids. It just gives you an excuse to not be worried (enough) about protection.

    1. Susanne.D.Nimes 6 Sep 2012, 11:13am

      Personally, I feel disturbed by the ugliness of every circumcised knob I have ever seen, and feel that there is nothing sexier than an intact penis.

      But since when did the sexual preferences of adults have anything to do with it?

      If a man wants to be circumcised, let him be circumcised.

      If a man wants to be intact, doesn’t he deserve that right too? Isn’t that choice just as valid?

      Let men choose for themselves, and they’ll choose what’s right for them, which at the end of the day is what matters.

  3. I, on the other hand, can’t stand the sight of a cut (mutilated) knob. Yuck!
    But that’s not the point. Anyone who says that you’re at a lower risk because you’re cut is an irresponsible idiot who will make people feel safer which in turn will result in them not using protection.

    1. Susanne.D.Nimes 6 Sep 2012, 11:14am

      Turns out you’re right – HIV rates in regions of Africa where circumcision has been pushed as a “vaccine” against AIDS have increased as a result.

      Education and condoms are what’s needed, not encouraging men to sacrifice their foreskins.

  4. The majority of males on the planet aren’t circumcised. This all stems from the Judaic tradition and had NOTHING to do with health issues, it was part of the covenant with “god”. I find it ironic that there is worldwide uproar when women are subjected to clitoral mutilation and yet when it comes to male circumcision its not regarded as mutilation. Uncut or cut doesn’t bother me either way but I do find it hypocritical that circumcision isn’t regarded the same way. Personally, I find it rather primitive inflicting pain and removing a part of one’s genitalia, barbaric at best. If Judaism and Islam didnt’ exist, I doubt very much that circumcision would be in the picture.

  5. I think the real question here is whether or not a male should have the right to make such a personal, life-long decision for himself. I believe that any adult male who wants his foreskin removed should have every right. In fact, he should have every right to have the whole thing lopped off if HE chooses. NO ONE should have the right to do this to another person without his informed, adult consent.

    I’m always curious as to how Europeans react when they hear that Americans routinely circumcise their infant boys, often, and until recently always, without anesthesia. Then we teach them that natural penises are dangerous, dirty, disgusting and ugly, encouraging MALES to be the biggest proponents of the procedure.

    10 to 1 Lucius is American.

  6. Lucius – It does all end in tears: for the mutilated baby.

  7. I promised myself I wouldn’t do this. Oh, well…

    Robert, I, on the other hand, find it extremely hypocritical that the word mutilation is even used in this way. Mutilation as an atrocious act of torture or the monstrosity that is genital mutilation of girls should in no way be used when someone, like myself, consciously decides to undergo this procedure due to serious health complications. So we could say I mutilate my body when I have my appendix, spleen, gallbladder, tonsils removed or when they perform a biopsy of my liver to test for cancer. I find this usage, which is by the way nothing more than on obscene emotional link using language, an affront to human pain and suffering.

    Let it be perfectly clear that I in no way support doing this on little boys who can’t decide for themselves. But their lives aren’t ruined, neither sexually nor in any other way as is the case with torture and genital mutilation on girls. Perhaps we could use the term “change” for this. Oh, wait, the transsexuals already have that covered.

    And it’s not that I have anything against men with uncut knobs, I just have a thing about loose tissue and stickiness; be it a foreskin or merely a bit of honey stuck to my finger. Perhaps This morning producers could invite me to one of their shows where a trained professional helps you overcome your fears in under an hour. “He can’t suck an uncut willy” would be a perfect title.

    Oh, and Zeke, how very dare you even imply I’m an American? European – born and raised! But above all, I’m a person, with my own preferences, regardless of my nationality.

  8. The question is not how we react when we hear about penis mutilation and inflicting pain on defenceless infants(that should be obvious) but how some of us react when we see a cut penis.
    I personally find it unappealing, to say the least :)
    Yes, uncut penises are dirty but only when you don’t wash. I’m sure the same goes for cut ones. I don’t know how they can be dangerous (or more dangerous than cut ones), can you explain that?
    And as for their appearance, well… a hand without fingers looks just wrong, doesn’t it? Same goes for a member without the foreskin.

  9. Lucius: However you put it, it *IS* mutilation, and it is usually without the consent of the owner.

    The foreskin serves a natural purpose, and although some people think it should be performed as a religious ritual, I would personally sue the arse off the doctor that performed the operation on me as soon as I was old enough.

    If grown adults wish to be circumcised for religious or medical reasons, that is entirely up to them, but virtually all American boys have it done totally routinely, and I think it is barbaric.

  10. Lucius, have you ever witnessed a circumcision performed without anesthesia in person? How very dare YOU to claim that it isn’t torture.

    The only way you could not consider male circumcision mutilation is if you, as do so many others, don’t consider the foreskin a natural part of the penis but rather an unwanted, unneeded, unnatural growth (i.e. tumor) on the penis. It is the very definition of mutilation to take a perfectly natural, healthy penis and cut off and dispose of a healthy, nerve rich part of it. You can spin that all you want but it doesn’t make it so.

    Oh, and here’s another inconvenient fact for you, most female circumcisions: 1) do NOT remove the clitoris; 2) are most supported by and PERFORMED by WOMEN; 3) the people who fought hardest against outlawing the procedure were WOMEN and 4) many, if not most, women who had been circumcised claimed that it was NOT mutilation, was cleaner and was more attractive.

    NONE of these facts changes the fact that female circumcision, of any kind, IS genital mutilation and none of your arguments changes the fact that male circumcision, when done without the consent of the patient, is genital mutilation.

    Even though you made it a point to act as if you didn’t you still managed to conflate medically necessary circumcisions with involuntary, unnecessary ones.

    Like I said before, if an adult, male or female, voluntarily seeks to have their genitals cut, in any way, I way more power to them. But no one should make that decision for another person unless it is medically necessary.

    I had severe tonsillitis and had to have my adenoids removed but I’m not about to claim that everyone, or anyone, should have healthy ones removed just because of the pain and trauma I went through. That would be nuts but so is claiming that a few defective or infected foreskins is a good reason for healthy ones to be removed.

  11. “The foreskin serves a natural purpose…”

    Well, I’d rather you didn’t use this argument, because a lot of things have a natural purpose. Skin has it’s natural purpose, yet people still have theirs tattooed, pierced, tanned, botoxed, peeled etc. Lets not forget this is, among other things, a gay news website. Now we all now what a natural purpose of an anus is…

    I get your other point. Fine, it is barbaric mutilation. But I demand we then find another word for the genital mutilation of girls. Because it is so nightmarish it should never be allowed to be even connected with the same word!

    1. Susanne.D.Nimes 6 Sep 2012, 11:19am

      Tattooing skin doesn’t reduce its purpose.

      Removing the foreskin totally destroys the ability of the body to provide that purpose.

      So, I’m sure you would rather people didn’t use that argument, what with the fact that it makes your position untenable.

      You’re utterly uninformed about genital mutilation of girls. The majority of female circumcision removes the clitoral hood – a less invasive procedure than removing the foreskin of a boy.

      The procedure you are no doubt thinking of is infibulation, which makes up a small minority of cases of female genital cutting. Stop confusing infibulation with female circumcision.

  12. My comment wasn’t published, so I’ll try again:

    Zeke, I made it my very point about this: don’t throw in the same basket the circumcisions being performed on children and the voluntary ones. I refuse to be branded (even implicitly) a self-mutilator when there are people with body dysmorphia around. I just can’t cede to that, sorry.

    And yes, my points were perhaps conveyed a bit erratically. But I’m not a native speaker and I’m currently snowed in, so I really can’t be bothered too much about coherence, let alone eloquence. :D

  13. Sobering statistics for anyone who is barebacking… It seems the group of 4,900 will have included the full spectrum: from those who only had anal sex with a condom right through to guys who routinely barebacked.

    Over a three year period seven percent of the men became HIV+. So what percentage of the guys who routinely barebacked became positive I wonder? It stands to reason that it must be MUCH higher than seven percent? It would be interesting to know if that figure exists.

  14. Doctors have for the last 100 years or so pushed for circumcision of infants, they claim all sorts. I read somewhere it seeks to prevent a medical problem that has yet to be invented.

    Its crazy. No parent or doctor has any right to decide if a child should get to keep his foreskin. Its his CHOICE.

  15. Only when there is a medical reason for it should a child be circumcised. Circumcising a child for religious reasons is barbaric stupidity.

    Barebacking can lead to HIV infection. However when one is the receptive partner the risk is higher. That perhaps explains why circumcision does not reduce HIV infection rates among gay men.

    Being the active partner in anal sex does not eliminate the risk, but it’s a proven fact that it is less risky than being the receptive partner.

    Assuming most gay men are versatile then I can see why circumcision is ineffective.

  16. Lucius, nowhere did I claim that you were a self-mutilator. I clearly stated that I reserve the term mutilation for the involuntary cutting off of healthy tissue. By your own claim, your foreskin was not healthy and, though I find eight years old too young to make a decision about an elective surgery, you seem to be implying that yours, though not elective but necessary, was voluntary. It may shock you but I also believe that eight years old is too young for a child to make the decision to have a tattoo. I won’t even address the ear piercing argument unless you can show me evidence that ear piercing is permanent and irreversible.

    Like you, I promised myself that I wouldn’t “go there” but I simply must. It’s embarrassing and upsetting for me to admit this but I was the victim of a “botched” involuntary circumcision. Perhaps this is why this topic is so personal to me. I didn’t even realize until I was in my late twenties, that the scars and missing layers of tissue on the glands of my penis was not a natural variation of a widely varying organ (and I’m a gay man who has seen more penises than the average man). It wasn’t until I moved to Florida and went to a doctor who wasn’t obsessively pro-routine infant circumcision that I realized that the horrible condition of my penis was due to my circumcision. The word the doctor used was “butchered”. Not only was I not involved in the decision to do the procedure on my genitals, I have absolutely no recourse to be compensated for what was done to me because it was done in Mississippi which only requires the consent of a parent to absolve the physician of liability; besides the physician I have since learned, is dead.

    I can only imagine how many other males were “butchered” but don’t realize it, and even if they do are too ashamed to speak of it, as I was until a few years ago. Additionally, few people speak of how many males lose all or part of their penises due to surgical mistakes or infections. This is VERY common in Africa. Do we not consider this mutilation? Do we not consider circumcising 5 to 18 year old boys in Turkey, across Africa and in many parts of the world “torture”? Is that not somewhat equivalent to what is done to females? Please don’t compare procedures done in sanitary hospitals under anesthesia with what happens in the bush of Africa or in the town square in Turkey during circumcision festivals. If you do that then of course you can’t see relation. It’s comparing apples to oranges when there are actually real apples to compare to.

    One more point and I’ll shut up (at least for now). How interesting it is to me that when the extremely methodologically flawed circumcision study came out of Africa ALL the headlines, including the one here at PinkNews screamed “New Study in Africa PROVES that Circumcision Slashes HIV Infection” and “Circumcision Cuts HIV Infection by 60% in African Study”; NEVER was the word “may” included in these headlines or in the reports. Now a study comes out saying that circumcision doesn’t prevent HIV infection in gay men and the word “many” is in EVERY headline on EVERY website that I’ve seen it. Even within THIS story the African study is still presented as unquestioned fact despite the fact that many physicians and scientist have shredded it for glaring methodology flaws.

    I understand why this is done in America. There’s a whole industry behind promoting circumcision here. I find it curious as to why it’s done on a European site.

  17. Sorry, when I spoke of the 5 to 18 year olds ritually circumcised in Turkey and across Africa I failed to mention that it is almost always done WITHOUT any form of anesthesia. I actually saw this done to little boys in Turkey. I assure you that it is torture and barbaric and equivalent to the most common form of female circumcision which, contrary to popular myth, does not remove the clitoris.

  18. Sister Mary clarence 10 Mar 2010, 10:55pm

    The reality though is that in the trails in Africa huge decreases in infection rates were recorded amongst circumcised men, so much so that one study in Orange Farm township, in South Africa was stopped because it was considered to be unethical to allow it to continue when the uncircumcised men where so much more likely to become infected.

    It might not be a valid solution for Western gays but it has probably saved tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives in Africa.

    1. Susanne.D.Nimes 6 Sep 2012, 11:25am

      Oh, how sweetly naive.

      You know what caused the differences in infection rates? It was probably that the circumcised men were advised to abstain from sex while they were healing (intact men were not asked to abstain so that a valid comparison could be made) and circumcised men were exposed to medical personnel, drilled about safe sex and given condoms (the men remaining intact were not given the same).

      The study was ended early not for the reason you claim, but so that the results were still in favour of what the researchers (who produce and sell circumcision clamps for a profit) wanted to find. This is a known problem – studies that end early always show more exaggerated results than studies carried to conclusion.

      The study also found that circumcised men were more likely to pass on HIV than intact men, totally negating any “benefit” they may have found.

      HIV rates are now on the INCREASE in those areas of Africa where circumcision was pushed. Congrats!

  19. SMC, try Googling critical analysis of that study. It was a two year study where uncircumcised men were allowed to have unprotected sex immediately. The circumcised men were not allowed to have sex at all for at least a month (or two) after the procedure and then to use a condom for another period of time. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see how this could skew numbers. The real thing that can be taken from the study is that people who are abstinent or who use condoms for a significant period of time over two years are less likely to become infected than people who have unprotected sex for a full two years.

    You don’t need a study to prove that.

    There were many other problems with the methodology. You might want to research it before you put your own reputation for accuracy on the line promoting it.

  20. For those who say that there is no comparison between male and female ritual circumcision, try comparing apples to apples in Africa.

  21. FORESKINS RULE: love them. Like my men all in their natural beauty, that nature gave us. If we were meant to circumcised, we would have been born that way. Get over it, every body. This issue raises it’s ugly head every opportunity that scientists or experts think that the issue needs to be discussed. Time everyone move on and leave nature alone.

  22. The western country with the highest circumcision rate is the western country with the highest HIV infection rate: the USA. That should tell you all you need to know about the effectiveness of circumcision as a preventative procedure.
    If you search the internet it won’t take long to find the experimental errors in the Ugandan trials and that the researchers are far from neutral on the subject of circumcision. Bad science done by bias scientists. A recent trial in the USA reported by Reuters this week showed that circumcision had no effect on HIV/AIDS infection, something that should not happen if a 60% protection rate was real.
    Circumcision is a waste of valuable time & money and is likely to give men a false sense of security of their chances of infection.

  23. Sister Mary clarence 11 Mar 2010, 9:49am

    Thanks for that Zeke, there are at least another 37 other reputable studies that have come up with the same or similar results that are cited by the US government (although mostly in Africa) that show circumcision reduces heterosexual hiv infection rates (although I’m not clear how they would identify/define heterosexual there to be fair).

    A UNAIDS multi-site study found that male circumcision was the principal factor in the differences in HIV infection rates across the continent.

    Whilst my personal view is that circumcision is something that should have died out in medieval times, I will not so easily dismiss a study by the United Nations that shows that it has the ability to save the lives of millions of people living in another part of the world.

    I wouldn’t have it done myself. Were I to have children I would not allow them to have it done. I prefer to have sex with people who have not had it done. However, on the basis that the United Nations and many other health organisations believe it saves vast number of lives, then absolutely, I’ll all for it.

    1. Susanne.D.Nimes 6 Sep 2012, 11:29am

      Only it’s not saving lives. It’s endangering lives.

      Circumcised men are proven to be more likely to engage in riskier sexual behaviours such as unprotected sex. The loss of sensitivity caused by circumcision means that they are unwilling to lose more by wearing a condom. Conversely, men who are intact and therefore have full sensitivity are willing to lose just a little for the sake of wearing a condom.

      Your comments smack of imperialism and superiority. It’s not good enough for you or your children, but hey if the UN says so, then I guess it’s good enough for African men. They don’t deserve a full spectrum of sexual sensitivity, right?!

  24. #7 Lucius

    “But their lives aren’t ruined, neither sexually nor in any other way”

    Oh yes they are.

    My boyfriend experiences next to no sensation whatsoever due to this mutilation.

    Whereby, myself being a hoodie squirm at the slightest touch.

  25. As I said earlier, the foreskin does serve a natural purpose to protect the acutely sensitive glans when it is in it’s ‘parked’ position. ;) That is not to say many uncut men can’t have good sex, but they are definitely at a disadvantage.

    As for saying the skin and the anus are used for other purposes, yes, that is fine if you are an adult and wish to do those things to your body. By your same token would you allow children tattoos, or even anal sex? That is a really CRAP argument.

    There are some medical conditions such as phimosis (where the foreskin cannot be withdrawn), and these require surgery which can often mean full circumcision, and I know of two people that have had this and apparently even with anaesthetic, it still hurts like buggery for days.

  26. You bunch of pricks. LIke every other discussion on this site this has degenerated into muck slinging between a handful of queens with nothing better to do. If you could keep you’re comments on subject it would save people with a genuine interest having to trawl through pages and pages of sour drivel.

  27. To those who equate male to female circumcision, the question is:why do adult men chooser to undergo it and NO adult women? Please read the accounts of females who have been circumcised. For men, issues all identified here arise from faultly procedure or unsterilised instruments. However, the stated aim of most femal cricumcision it so to prevent promiscuity by reducing pleasure. Go figure!

    1. Susanne.D.Nimes 6 Sep 2012, 11:31am

      Adult women do choose to undergo it, your argument is based on a lie.

      The stated aim of male circumcision was also to reduce sexual pleasure (see Maimonedes) and to prevent masturbation (good old Kellogg). This has been swept under the rug lately because FGC is not the done thing in the US, but male genital cutting still is.

      It’s always apparent when people like yourself make these comments that they simply have not done their research.

  28. Lucius we could go on at length regarding the meaning of mutilation. Lets not forget that in the Judaic ritual, the “mohel” comes to the home to circumcise baby boys without anaesthesia. I’ve been to a couple of these, not because I agree with it, but in deference to my Jewish friends. I didn’t want to offend them although they know my views on it. The ceremony is called a “briss” I believe. I still find it hard to deal with a baby boy crying out loud immediate the incision is made to lop off his foreskin. It IS barbaric, no matter which way one looks at it. An innocent being who has no say it, I think not.

    Having it done later in life Lucius is a whole different matter, be it for medical reasons, whatever. If its medically necessary, then yes, I would probably submit to it as well if it means my health would be affected if I didn’t have it done. But at least its done in a medical setting under anaesthesia.

    Zeke, I believe American baby boys who aren’t jewish or muslim have it done under anaesthesia. Either way, I still think its a barbaric practice when its done without someone’s consent. I don’t buy the aesthetic nonsense abour having it removed either. Its all in the mind and I think an American phenomenon. Most people in Europe aren’t circumcised I don’t think, among other places.

  29. Even if there were a correlation it still wouldn’t justify routine circumcision.

  30. The African research is flawed and does not apply to the
    western world, so give it a rest and stop worrying. Those guys reared in the US often find foreskins repulsive; those reared elsewhere find the lack of a prepuce repulsive. We are all different in our tastes. So I hope that more don’t get their knickers in a twist over this issue.

  31. From the numbers given: with 4889 men in the study, 86% (4205 men) circumcised, hence 684 intact, 7% of the total (342) HIV+ and only 43 intact men HIV+, that’s 6.3% of 684, compared to 299 circumcised men with HIV or 7.1% (299/4205). So circumcision doesn’t just fail to protect, it might increase the risk. Using the same rhetoric as the circumcision advocates, one could say “circumcision increases the risk by 13.1%” but that would be spuriously accurate.

    Real scientists study the evidence and accept what it shows, whether they like it or not. These people are determined to prove that circumcision is beneficial, and they’ll just keep on doing studies till they get one that seems to show it is. Then they’ll headline it worldwide.

    FGC may be different from MGC, but having baby girls’ genitals left alone is exactly the same as having baby boys’ genitals left alone – a human right.

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.