Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Zimbabwe politicians and circumcision
Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe (Mrs.) made a plea to her fellow Zimbabwean politicians. Get yourselves circumcised and reduce the risk of catching HIV. It would seem at least 10 Zimbabwean MP have rallied to the call. A small makeshift clinic for carrying out the procedures was erected in Parliament House in the capital Harare but it would seem the majority of MPs are baulking at the suggestion and I don’t blame them. Ouch! I am led to believe that circumcision in an adult isn’t exactly the most painless of procedures. It is said Robert Monster Mugabe is thinking of setting an example and having it done which seems a waste of time with someone of his age. A bit late in the day don’t you think?
Research by the UN has suggested male circumcision can reduce the spread of HIV and Aids, reducing infection among men by 60%. Really? There are several reasons it is said why circumcision may(?) protect against HIV infection. Specific cells in the foreskin are thought(?) to be potential targets for HIV infection. Following circumcision, the skin under the foreskin becomes less sensitive and is less likely to bleed, reducing the risk of infection. But it is not the whole solution. Promoting safe sex, providing people with HIV testing services and encouraging the use of male and female condoms are all seen as equally important. Some experts are saying there is a danger in sending out a message that circumcision can protect against HIV because it could lead to an increase in unprotected sex. Note the ‘may’ and ‘thought’ above which is hardly reassuring so let me ask this – When Aids was first experienced in the United States and was known as the gay plague how come it claimed so many many many victims when ninety percent of American males are circumcised? Surely this fact should have reduced the infections by that mythical 60%? My 90% is as big a guess as the UN’s 60% so let’s just say the majority of American males. Modern thinking is of the opinion that circumcision is a totally unnecessary procedure unless the foreskin needs to be removed because of phimosis for example. So most Europeans under the age of say 40/45 (another guess) will be found to be uncircumcised except for those who are done for religious reasons. Though I read that a German court has caused a volcanic eruption by stating that the circumcision of babies is mutilation and no one should undergo the operation until the are old enough to decide for themselves. This goes completely against Jewish and Muslim custom of course so it’s little wonder it has caused an unbelievable uproar. Who knows? One day outmoded customs might just die of their own accord. The court in Germany has ruled that circumcising young boys for religious reasons amounts to bodily harm and that a child's right to physical integrity trumps religious and parental rights. The case involved a doctor who carried out a circumcision on a four year-old that led to medical complications. Although male circumcision - unlike female circumcision - is not illegal in Germany, the court's judgment said the "fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighed the fundamental rights of the parents”. Circumcision, it decided, contravenes "interests of the child to decide later in life on his religious beliefs".