Monday, October 24, 2016

10 Years Later, UNAIDS Still Hell Bent on Circumcising Africa

Is there a god?

Because only he would know what's come over the people at UNAIDS.

It seems that how many men they hornswoggle into getting circumcised, and how many parents they convince to allow doctors to circumcise their children, continues to be the new measure of "success" in reducing AIDS transmission at the WHO/UNAIDS.

Within the past few days, UNAIDS has published not one, not two, but three articles regarding so-called "VMMC" (the catchy acronym that stands for "Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision") on their website.

None of them question the mantra that "circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission by 60%" and what it's based on; they just tout it as given fact.

All of them sweep the reader past the fact that, in all actuality, scientists and researchers don't know that circumcision reduces the transmission of HIV at all, let alone by the fabled 60%.

The fact is that not a single scientist or researcher has been able to produce a scientifically demonstrable causal link between the presence of the male foreskin and an increase in HIV transmission.

But even accepting the claim that "circumcision prevents HIV transmission by 60%" at face value, no one seems to be concerned that there would still be that 40% that men and women have to worry about; circumcised men still run the risk of  acquiring HIV.

So ineffective would circumcision be at preventing HIV transmission, that HIV workers must stress to circumcised men and their partners, that circumcision is not protection, and that they still have to use condoms.

Bringing into question the use of promoting circumcision as HIV prevention in the first place.

The Underlying Theme: The Better Mousetrap
After reading each of the articles, I noticed a connecting underlying theme; and that's finding a better way to circumcise more males in a shorter time.

It's a recurring theme; actually, finding more men to circumcise is a problem HIV/AIDS organizations face every year.

Every year, WHO/UNAIDS sends a double-message. On the one hand, they want to let on on how successful their programs are. "Those foreskins are flying," Robert Bailey once assured in the New York Times. On the other hand, their strongest message is that "We still need your help! Don't stop sending us your money!"

Well, not exactly in those words, but you know, just about.

When the "mass circumcision programs" first began, there was an initial surge of men lining up to get circumcised at medical facilities. Initially, circumcision programs were able to claim success, but that has pretty much died down.

The number of men coming forward for circumcision, and parents allowing their children to be circumcised has since plateaued, and now circumcision promoters are at their wit's end trying to encourage more men to get circumcised.

In Swaziland, the "Soka Uncobe" (or "Circumcise and Conquer") campaign was launched with the intention of circumcising 80% of the male Swazi population (that's 200,000 men), but the program ended in failure, as after four years, the program was able to convince only 20% (roughly 34,000 men) of the population to undergo circumcision.

Programs in other countries are also facing the same failure to circumcise the number of men they want, such as in ZimbabweBotswana, Zambia and Kenya.

It is my suspicion that the men who initially did go in to get circumcised, were men who belonged to tribes and cultures where circumcision is already a rite of passage, and who were going to be circumcised anyway. (WHO/UNAIDS doesn't want to talk about this, but circumcision is already quite wide-spread in Africa. It is not too difficult to find men who want to get circumcised, because circumcision is already a rite of passage in many tribes and Muslim communities.)

Perhaps there were a few gullible men here and there who actually bought into the circumcision/HIV propaganda, but on the whole, those who went in were probably only men who couldn't care less about the potential HIV reduction, who said whatever they had to in order to cash in on a free and "safe" circumcision. All of the men who were going to get circumcised have gotten circumcised, so there's no one left, until new tribe or Muslim initiates come of age.

It seems circumcision promoters can't stop asking themselves, "What could be the problem? What has gone wrong? Why aren't men breaking down the doors to have part of their penis cut off?"

"Circumcise or bust!" seems to be the motto.

"We need to do whatever it takes to get as many men and boys circumcised."

And this, I believe, is what's wrong with HIV programs in Africa today. Somehow, progress on the HIV front has come to be measured, not by how much HIV infection has decreased in time, but by how prolific the practice of circumcision has become.

This time, they got it. They really got it.
WHO/UNAIDS has published the following report; "Effective HIV prevention and a gateway to improved adolescent boys & men’s health in eastern and southern Africa by 2021", which would be better labeled "Circumcising More Boys and Men."

The report says that the annual number of "VMMC" needs to increase to 5 million per year. According to the report, the following elements must be achieved:
  • Promoting VMMC as part of a wider package of sexual and reproductive services for men and boys, including comprehensive sexuality education, the use of condoms and communication around gender norms, including positive notions of masculinity.
  • Using new integrated service delivery models. 
  • Using approaches that are tailored for various age groups and locations.
  • Increasing domestic funding to ensure the sustainability of VMM[C] and expanding sexual and reproductive health services for men and boys.
  • Developing new approaches for adolescent and early infant circumcision.
  • Breaking down myths and misconceptions about circumcision.

To me, these read as:
  • Make circumcision as a condition for sex education, condoms, and manhood (e.g. social stigma)
  • Using the latest circumcision technology (e.g. prepex, accucirc etc... business ties anyone?)
  • Find out what it takes to circumcise people of different age groups
  • Make "VMMC" a condition for receiving funds for sex and reproductive health services for men and boys
  • Get 'em while they're young, target the youth and find ways to convince parents to have their children circumcised (WHERE'S THE "VOLUNTARY" IN THAT?)
    Brainwashing people into accepting circumcision by creating myths and misconceptions
In the second article published by UNAIDS, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation appears to be investing in "research" on how to brainwash the African populace to uptake circumcision more effectively.

Reads the article:
"...while service delivery for VMMC has improved, uptake has stalled. In response, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded Ipsos Healthcare, a market research company, to investigate how to better understand behavioural and psychographic characteristics of men and boys and the barriers and facilitators within their journey from awareness of the VMMC to uptake."

Circumcision or bust. In other words, they want to see what makes them tick, what buttons they have to push, such that they accept circumcision.

Readers, does this seem "voluntary" to you?

In the third UNAIDS article, it seems they want to target youths by taking them to camps, Jesus Camp style. The article is titled "Protecting men and boys’ health in Swaziland," where "protection" means, making sure they're circumcised.

The article talks about using soccer to get to youth.

There have already been reports of crafty organizers using soccer to attract youth, and then making circumcision a prerequisite for joining.

More and more the word "voluntary" seems to be nothing more than lip service.

Human Rights Violations
The fact that WHO/UNAIDS is effectively endorsing genital mutilation as HIV "prevention" is infuriating.

First off, circumcision simply does not prevent anything, and that promoting circumcision as HIV prevention is already resulting in a false sense of security in men and women, exacerbating the HIV transmission problem:
UGANDA: Myths about circumcision help spread HIV
ZIMBABWE: Circumcised men abandoning condoms
Botswana – There is an upsurge of cases of people who got infected with HIV following circumcision.
Zimbabwe – Circumcised men indulge in risky sexual behaviour
Nyanza – Push for male circumcision in Nyanza fails to reduce infections

Second, this endorsement is already resulting in the violation of basic human rights. Promoting circumcision as HIV prevention is giving circumcising tribes the green light to forcibly circumcise members of their tribes, and even members of rival tribes:
UGANDA: 220 men forcibly circumcised
UGANDA: HIV campaign confused with circum-rape: no effect on HIV rate
ZIMBABWE: 6 years for kidnapping, forced circumcision
UGANDA: Forced circumcision campaign stopped
UGANDA: Men flee "life-threatening" forced circumcision
UGANDA: Prisoners forcibly circumcised
KENYA: Circumcision forced on men and women - boy dies for refusing
UGANDA: Pretty women entrap intact men for enforced circumcision
SOUTH AFRICA: Taxi drivers fear forced dircumcision

The fact is that circumcision has become a prerequisite in receiving fund from donors. HIV organizations are being given quotas of circumcised males that they must meet in order to receive funds. This is resulting in very underhanded activity.

To increase the number of men being circumcised a year, circumcision promoters have tried everything in the book, from celebrity endorsement, to songs on the radio, to art exhibitions, to patriarchal endorsement, to bribery, to legislative proposition of compulsory circumcision for all (there goes the "voluntary" part of the program...), to making it a requirement to participate in sports, to outright emasculation and body shaming.

In some cases, children are being taken from schools, and even off the streets outright, and being circumcised without their parents' permission.

Programs are already underway to promote male infant circumcision to parents.

Again, is it not obvious that the "voluntary" part of the catchy "Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision" acronym is nothing more than vestigial?

On the bright side, perhaps the UNAIDS articles are good news for the intactivist movement. Perhaps they are a sign of circumcision advocates' despair and frustration, because their plans to circumcise Africa aren't going as swimmingly as they had originally planned.

Perhaps the need to underline that they're struggling to find better ways to spread circumcision, is indicative of the fact that Africans aren't buying the lie that circumcision has anything to do with HIV prevention so easily.

Africans Aren't Stupid
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why circumcision promoters are having trouble achieving their quotas. You don't need "studies" and "surveys" to figure out why.

Men simply don't see the value of getting circumcised, to undergo a painful, life-altering, permanent surgical alteration, which will permanently change the appearance and mechanics of their penises, if it means they only get "partial protection." Being told that "circumcision reduces HIV transmission by 60%" isn't all that impressive if it means that they still have to wear condoms.

Married men simply don't see the value of getting circumcised if they are faithful to their wives, and therefore not at risk for sexually transmitted HIV.

Women certainly don't want to be made to feel like their man is going out on them with other women. They want to be able to trust their partners with fidelity. So why would they encourage their men to go get circumcised? What can having their husbands go get circumcised mean, other than that they are expecting them to be unfaithful?

That the people up at HIV organizations think that they can actually get away with promoting circumcision the way they do can mean only one of to things; either HIV organizations are dense and stupid, or they believe the African public is.

From an outside, non-African perspective, I simply can't believe the bullshit that western HIV organizations are attempting to feed the people of Africa. Looking at what's going on in Africa, I'm simply insulted as an intact male.

As an intact man, I am expected to believe that, a) circumcision "reduces the likelihood of HIV transmission by 60% (from female to male)," and b) that I still have to wear condoms.


I ask, why in the world would any man in the right mind choose to have part of his penis removed, if it meant that one still had to wear condoms?

"60% protetion."

Just what does that mean?

Imagine parachutes that worked only 60% of the time, and malfunctioned the remaining 40%. 

For no discernible rhyme or reason.

Who in the right mind would want parachutes like that?

Is it any wonder HIV organizations are having trouble convincing the masses to accept circumcision as their lord and saviour?

I ask, if I'm not convinced by this argument, why would I expect any other man to be? Let alone the men in Africa?

No intact man in the right mind could ever go for this. Men who are fully informed, men who have been made aware of all the facts simply cannot see any value in undergoing circumcision, and can clearly see that it is complete madness that organizations are spending millions in funds trying to convince other men to part with their foreskins for only "partial protection." If you went around pushing this nonsense in Europe, people would laugh in your face. They're pushing this shit in Africa because they think Africans are gullible idiots.

The only people who see the value in circumcision campaigns are those men and women who already have religious or cultural convictions for the practice of circumcision. They would like circumcision to be a free service, performed at hospitals by trained professionals, as opposed to the African bush, performed by amateurs using crude utensils, where men are more likely to suffer complications, including infection, loss of their organ, and even death. People with religious or cultural convictions for circumcision cannot verily declare this to be the case, so they are more than likely to disguise these convictions and desire to have circumcision as a free service by parroting the circumcision/HIV propaganda. "I am glad I am protected," they will say, when they truly mean to say "I cashed in on a free circumcision, thanks to these HIV programs!" "Everybody should be circumcised in order to prevent HIV infection," they will say, when they mean to say "We want all men to be circumcised and must submit to our tribal or religious tradition."

THE SOLUTION: More Money, More Propaganda
So ten years and several million dollars later, the great scheme to circumcise Africa in the name of HIV transmission hasn't taken off. Africans simply aren't buying it. Worse than that, the risk compensation nightmare intactivists have warned about from the very beginning is coming true.

Men are walking away with the message that condoms aren't necessary once they're circumcised. This false sense of security makes it difficult for female partners to convince them to wear condoms.

The endorsement of circumcision as HIV prevention is seen as a green light for traditional, rite-of-passage circumcision practices, as well as the forced circumcision of men by men in rival circumcising tribes, resulting in infections, loss of genital organs and death, not to mention an increased risk of HIV transmission due to the usage of dirty, crude equipment.

These "mass circumcision campaigns" are a massive failure. But how are circumcision promotion agencies responding? What is their solution?

More money, more propaganda.

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

"Demand creation," say the circumcision "experts," is the key.

HIV promoting organizations are observing what's happening, and their solution is to up the ante, use more coercive tactics to get the men to circumcise themselves "voluntarily."

The problem, the reason they aren't seeing men flocking to get circumcised, according to them, is that men simply don't understand what's good for them.

The women don't either.

The solution is to "understand" "why" people aren't buying it, in order to hit the right buttons, come up with the necessary "studies" that quell people's fears, and people will start banging down the doors.

"Demand Creation": What does it mean?
So how are they going to do it?

How are they going to get 5 million men a year to get circumcised?

"Demand creation" are the buzz words among circumcision promoters. But what do these words mean?

To me this can only mean brainwashing and counterproductive propaganda.

When the goal of HIV organizations is no longer to prevent HIV, when the goal is, instead, to circumcise as many men, boys and children as possible, when the goal is to gain the "acceptance" of circumcision, when the goal is to achieve a quota within a certain time frame, then the only outcome of this is can be lies and deception.

In order to achieve "demand creation," one can expect more attacks on African masculinity.

More coercion through sex appeal.

More "studies" exaggerating the "benefits" of circumcision.

More diseases that circumcision is supposed to cure.

With the promotion of male infant circumcision, there will be more "studies" minimizing the risks and harms of circumcision.

Men and women who fully understand the facts, that circumcision is a painful, permanent alteration which, even if the current "research" were correct, could only provide "partial" protection, that circumcision fails and therefore condoms must still be used, do not, cannot possibly see any value in circumcision.

Men fully aware of the facts do not, cannot be convinced to accept this for themselves.

Parents fully aware of the facts, do not, cannot be convinced to accept this for their children.

Therefore the only possible outcome is that, in order to realize quotas and meet deadlines, the facts must be denied, lies must be told, and the truth must be hidden at all costs.

Therefore the only outcome of "demand creation" is that the public will believe that circumcision prevents HIV transmission, that being circumcised means condoms are disposable, that unsafe sex with a man is acceptable as long as he is circumcised.

Therefore the only outcome of "demand creation" is, necessarily, that the HIV epidemic in African countries will be exasperated.

At the expense of the American taxpayer.

At the expense of the truth.

At the expense of scientific credibility.

At the expense of the human dignity of Africans.

At the expense of African lives.

At the expense of basic human rights of minors.

The problem isn't that African men and women "don't understand" and that they need to be "educated," no. The men and women and Africa understand what circumcision and HIV are. They understand that circumcision, even if the "research" were accurate, could only provide "partial protection," that men would still have to wear condoms, and simply aren't interested.

The problem is that the people at HIV organizations, the people at the American CDC, the people at PEPFAR, the people at Bill and Melinda Gates, the people at the WHO have all lost their senses completely.

It is absolute madness that they've all made it the end goal of the HIV movement to circumcise Africa, if not the world. While precious funds could be put to better use, millions are being squandered on promoting a dubious form of HIV prevention which is already superseded by the cheaper, less invasive, more effective modes of prevention which are condoms and education.

This has stopped being about preventing HIV transmission and stopping AIDS; this has become a human experiment in coercion and brainwashing, adding a whole new layer of ethics being violated.

The word "Voluntary" in "Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision" will be devoid of any meaning.

Meanwhile, Back in the US
It is simply mistaken to assume that a mostly circumcised population automatically translates to a lowered HIV transmission rate, as real-world data indicates.

Meanwhile, the CDC has declared that the US is experiencing record highs in STDs. Not to mention that, according to the CIA World Factbook, the US has a higher HIV prevalence rate than 53 countries where circumcision is rare or not practiced.

Why is this important?

Because what "researchers" are trying to achieve in Africa is already reality in the US; 80% of our male population is already circumcised from birth.

Circumcision has been ingrained in American culture for at least a century. Having intact male organs is already stigmatized and openly made fun of on social media, television and film.

Circumcision never prevented HIV or other STDs in America, but somehow, however, people are expected to believe that it is working miracles in Africa.

Can anyone else not see what's happening in Africa for what it is?

An unethical, waste of money?

Millions are being spent to brainwash Africans of a lie the rest of the world doesn't even believe?

Millions are being spent to forcibly cut the genitals of healthy, non-consenting individuals?

Millions are being spent to instill in African men and women a false sense of security?

Which is actually a disservice in the fight against HIV?

Which can be better spent in sex education?



Other much needed medicine?

When are world leaders going to see this half-baked effort to circumcise Africa for what it is?

A massive human experiment?

A monstrous hoax?

A practical joke of epic proportions?

When are world leaders going to call to stop taking advantage of Africans?

Isn't it about time to admit that circumcision doesn't work, it never worked, and even if it ever did work, there would already be better ways to prevent HIV?

Isn't it about time to move on and spend those millions of dollars more productively?

Related Posts:

Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV II

UNITED STATES: Infant Circumcision Fails as STI Prophylaxis

CIRCUMCISION "RESEARCH": Rehashed Findings and Misleading Headlines

MASS CIRCUMCISION CAMPAIGNS: The Emasculation and Harassment of Africa

Posts on how circumcision may actually be worsening the HIV problem:

Posts on underhanded circumcision "upscale strategies"
BOTSWANA: Men Shunning Circumcision a "Mistery"

AFRICA: Creating Circumcision "Volunteers"
AFRICA: NGO's Taking Children from School to Circumcise Them Without Parents' Knowledge

MALAWI: USAID-Funded Program Kidnapping Children for Circumcision - Boy Loses Penis

Posts on Swaziland Soka Uncobe Saga:
Soka Uncobe: Our US Tax Dollars at Work

Soka Uncobe "Official Launch" - Come Again?

Soka Uncobe Ringleaders Getting a Little Desperate?
Swazi King: "Better You Than Me"

SWAZILAND: Compulsory Circumcision Law Proposed

Swazi Men Not As Dumb As American Circumcision Advocates Had Hoped

SWAZILAND: American Government Sinks to New Low

Why a U.S. Circumcision Push Failed in Swaziland | PBS NewsHour

Related Link:
NYTimes Plugs PrePex, Consorts With Known Circumfetish Organization

Friday, October 21, 2016

MedPage Today: Circumcision "Cuts HIV" In Africa - STDs Soar In USA

This week, medical news outlet MedPage Today published some interesting, if conflicting reports, regarding the acquisition and prevention of STDs.

Just today, they published an article titled "Mass Circumcision Cut HIV Acquisition," where so-called "researchers" try to give the credit of a recent reduction in HIV cases in a select place in Africa, to, you guessed it, circumcision.

The article is, of course, not saying anything that's exactly new. It touts the obligatory reference to the three major trials that make the claim that "circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission by 60%." (The figure given in this article is 50%.)

The article's sole objective seems to be to reiterate the claim that circumcision prevents HIV, the only evidence for this is the assertion that circumcision "is working" in Africa, based on mathematical models.

The article admits "[I]t's impossible to tabulate an infection that doesn't take place."

We are told that the "investigators" used three different mathematical models to estimate the impact of the 2015 numbers over the period from 2008 through 2015.

However, flawed models yield flawed results; the model is based on the unsubstantiated hypothesis that male circumcision reduces HIV transmission.

One of the biggest flaws in the trials on which these models are based, is the lack of a scientifically demonstrable causal link.

Without one, the trials, and thus any models based on them, are baseless; researchers must demonstrate how circumcision reduces HIV transmission in the first place, let alone by any percentage; circumcision may not even have anything to do with the recent drop HIV infection.

At best, the models attempt to forcibly graft circumcision into the HIV reduction equation; without a causal link, it must be asked how circumcision fits into the picture at all.

Even taking the results of the questionable trials at face value, even if circumcision could be said to prevent HIV prevention by the fabled 60% , circumcision would be ineffective at preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. So ineffective that, in fact, circumcised men and their partners must be urged to continue to wear condoms.

The recent drop in HIV infections might have more to do with the increased mindfulness of safe sex practices, such as faithfulness and condoms, and nothing to do with circumcision at all.

Reports from other parts of Africa note quite the opposite; an increase in HIV infection, in spite of circumcision indoctrination efforts, can be observed. (See here and here.)

And yet in others, promoting circumcision seems to be giving men a false sense of security, causing them to forgo condoms. (See here, here and here.)

It must be asked; are the "researchers" observing "averted infections" in intact men?

Are they monitoring their behaviors to see how they can prevent HIV transmission without the need for surgery?

Is the goal to prevent HIV transmission?

Or to justify the controversial practice of male circumcision?

Is promoting circumcision actually resulting in the opposite effect of increasing the risk of HIV transmission?

It must be noted that the article opens with the following disclaimer:

Note that this study was published as an abstract and presented at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

...which begs the question of why MedPage Today is even bothering to give this "study" any attention to begin with.

Meanwhile in the US...
While models "prove" circumcision is "preventing" HIV transmission in select parts of Africa, American organizations, such as the CDC and the CIA tells a different story regarding STD transmission in America.

Just a few days ago, the same medical news source published an article regarding a report by the CDC titled "STDs Hit Historic High: CDC."

While the rate of male infant circumcision in the US has dropped to about 56%, according to the very CDC, the prevalence of adult males circumcised at birth is still about 80%.

Circumcision has been near-universal in the US for quite some time now.

Circumcision advocates tout that it "reduces the risk" of countless other STDs, not only HIV, and yet real-world data doesn't correlate with these claims.

According to the CIA World Factbook, the US has a higher HIV prevalence rate than 53 countries where circumcision is rare or not practiced.

In the case of the US, the blame is being put not on the lack of circumcision (80% of adult males are are already circumcised from birth), but on the eroding health systems.

So while near-universal fails to prevent STD transmission, including HIV in the US, somehow we're supposed to believe that it is somehow working miracles in Africa.

Something has got to be wrong with "research" that fails to correlate with reality.

Promoting male circumcision in Africa is a worthless waste of money at best, an unethical disservice which may actually be resulting in an increase of HIV/STD transmission at worst.

Related Posts:
UNITED STATES: Infant Circumcision Fails as STI Prophylaxis

Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV
Where Circumcision Doesn't Prevent HIV II

CIRCUMCISION "RESEARCH": Rehashed Findings and Misleading Headlines
UGANDA: Myths about circumcision help spread HIV

ZIMBABWE: Circumcised men abandoning condoms

Botswana – There is an upsurge of cases of people who got infected with HIV following circumcision.

Zimbabwe – Circumcised men indulge in risky sexual behaviour

Nyanza – Push for male circumcision in Nyanza fails to reduce infections