Circumcision as a way to slow the spread of HIV.
June 9, 2000 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Circumcision as a way to slow the spread of HIV. I'm posting this here mostly 'cause I want to see some people's opinions on it. I'm against the operation for any reason other than religious, myself. I think a far better way to slow HIV would be to get people to stop sleeping around, but like that's gonna happen, eh?
posted by CrayDrygu (10 comments total)
I'd much rather see adequate contraception made available in Africa than widespread circumcision, but that's going to require a fair bit of sanity on the part of the Catholic hierarchy since they play a fairly substantial role in holding back sex education programmes.

(And I speak as an uncircumcised Catholic. Which shows that my opposition to circumcision outstrips any doctrinal concerns.)
posted by holgate at 5:37 PM on June 9, 2000

The article mentions that Muslims practice Circumcision at puberty. Maybe we should consider that as a way to decrease teenage preganancies.
posted by PaperCut at 6:31 PM on June 9, 2000

PaperCut: I really hope you're kidding. For one thing, do you really think that would stop any pregnancies, or even stop kids from having sex? Besides the time it would take to heal.

More importantly, though: Despite common belief, there's no advantage -- medical or otherwise -- to being circumcised. Yes, it makes it easier to clean down there, but you don't see people lopping off their ears because it makes them "easier to clean." All it boils down to is major surgery performed without anesthetic for no good reason (the two most common reasons are religion, which I excuse, and "because it looks nicer," which I abhor), and which removes a substantial portion of the sensitive tissue of the penis.

If this country ever made such a thing mandatory, that would be the final straw for me, and I would finally pack up and move to Canada. In fact, if they even considered it, that might do it for me.
posted by CrayDrygu at 6:38 PM on June 9, 2000

Circumcision is on the wane in the US, has been for years. Of course, I don't know where Cray lives, generation (born in '71) was the last one to even really have a majority of its males circumcised. I myself was not. It's generally still done at about 65% of births, but it's fairly easy to request that it not be, and many hospitals ask. In my case, my grandfather (who was a doctor) requested that he be allowed to do it...and then didn't. Don't know why.
posted by Ezrael at 7:05 PM on June 9, 2000

I am definitely kidding. I have a sick sense of humor, but personally I wish I was never circumcised. I am fascinated by the history of the practice, and how any civilized group of people could adopt the practice of genital multilation, especially in infants, is beyond me.

If the above link is true, the practice gained a foothold in america to prevent masturbation. An idea promoted by Dr Kellogg (I will never eat Corn Flakes again.) And it gained a foothold in Britain to distinguish the rich clean upper class from the dirty lower class (My Ancestry).
posted by PaperCut at 7:10 PM on June 9, 2000

As an uncut male I can say that the foreskin acts as a sort of moving sheath, leaving less chance that the skin on my unit will tear. My girlfriend works in an AIDS/HIV clinic and they found men with out their foreskin tend to have a higher chance of having tiny tears in the skin when engaging in sex. That is dangerous.
posted by DragonBoy at 10:02 PM on June 9, 2000

PaperCut: Glad to hear you're kidding. Sarcasm doesn't travel well in this font, eh? =)

And I've heard from several other sources that you're basically right. It started -- and became fairly popular -- in America for hygenic reasons which were all disproven. It would have died out until the Victorian-era people decided to try and stop masturbation. And circumcised teen will be able to tell you how well that worked, eh? ;)
posted by CrayDrygu at 8:58 AM on June 10, 2000

My previous post: And = Any

DragonBoy said: "men with out their foreskin tend to have a higher chance of having tiny tears in the skin when engaging in sex. That is dangerous."

You know what else is dangerous? Having sex with someone who's HIV+, whether you're circumcised or not.
posted by CrayDrygu at 9:00 AM on June 10, 2000

The real problem is that most people don't think before having sex. The circumcision issue is nonsense. If all of these horny morons out there would just slip a rubber on their dicks before having intercourse, we wouldn't have to worry about AIDS, unwanted children, etc.

PS, circumcision is not 'major surgery', it's just of piece of skin. I think it's pretty hilarious that non circumcision has become its own form of elitism.
posted by Mr. skullhead at 11:14 AM on June 10, 2000

"PS, circumcision is not 'major surgery', it's just of piece of skin."

Well, no, not really. It's a piece of skin that performs several major functions, including keeping the head of the penis protected from things like clothing and foreign objects, helping keep it lubricated during sex, and even adding to the sensations during sex (it's loaded with nerve endings). While I can see where you're coming from, what it boils down to is that there's no reason to take it off, and plenty of reason to keep it on.

P.S. I don't think I'm better than anyone else because I'm not circumcised. I do think my parents have a little more sense than theirs, though. Certainly nothing to be judgemental about.
posted by CrayDrygu at 7:43 PM on June 10, 2000

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