Alex Blaze

NYC hosts forum on circumcision

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 11, 2007 10:56 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: barebacking, condoms, HIV/AIDS, New York City

The NYC health commissioner hosted a forum at an LGBT center to talk about a possible plan to try to get demographics at risk for HIV to get themselves circumcised as a means of preventing AIDS. Last month, the NY Times reported that the city's health department was in the early stages of such a plan, although the health commission says now that they're just checking out their options.

My question is why in the world are these people pursuing this? Let's start with the fact that there's absolutely no evidence to support the idea that cicumcision reduces the risk of HIV. The idea is that foreskin has a bunch of Langerhans cells which might attract the virus from vaginal fluid. Even the evidence that it helps the straights is still sketchy and in its early stages of research. But you add to all that the fact that we're having trouble getting people to use condoms. If someone's not going to use a condom, will he actually go in for circumcision? It just seems like outpatient care isn't the preferable option over a piece of latex.

Besides the extra pleasure of going condomless, many gay men seek sexual authenticity, that when you do it with a condom, it isn't real sex. I'm not trying to dispel that notion here, especially since it's a legitimate way to look at condomless sex. What I am saying is that since some men risk their lives to maintain the integrity of real sex, does the New York health department think that it's a viable option to tell those specific men that they need to have part of their bodies cut off?

"Solutions" like this one seem to just be beating around the bush by not seeking out the reasons why gay men bareback. They're not stupid. They're not suicidal. They have a right to sexual pleasure. Now let's talk about the responsibilities that come with that right, not lining them up to chop off a part of their bodies.


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Whoa, this might be interpreted as pro-barebacking with strangers. I'm not. But I do think it's simplistic to call those peopel who do it stupid and right off their reasons for doing so.

But really, not pro barebacking in most situations.

I think it's important to note that since the foreskin is the best part of the penis, your anti-condom friends are probably even LESS likely to glove up if they get cut.

MOST of the US men who have died of AIDS were circumcised at birth. Circumcision does not prevent AIDS.

Joshua Amos | May 13, 2007 12:46 AM

Alex said: "Let's start with the fact that there's absolutely no evidence to support the idea that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV."
Now here is a blatant untruth if I ever saw one. On the basis of three, note three, randomized controlled trials (RCT's) the World Health Organization (WHO) have issued recommendations based on the findings of numerous studies, http://tinyurl.com/2umlwh , that found a protective effect of 60% for circumcision during heterosexual vaginal sex.
With regard to gay anal sex there have been findings which again find a lower risk to circumcisied men: http://tinyurl.com/2j42an , http://tinyurl.com/2cg7nw
So please stop posting disinformation!

OK, sorry, that could have been worded more clearly. When I said that there wasn't any evidence of it reducing seroconversion, I was referring specifically to men who have sex with men.

On the other links that you provided, first they have been contradicted by many otehr studies and supported by some others as well, to a point that I can't find a single major health organization who endorses circumcision for men who have sex with men to prevent seroconversion. For example in teh second link you provided, the difference was within the margin of error. In the first, which doesn't show the whole study, but even teh abstract admits that circumcision in teh US is tied to other factors that are known to affect infection rates, including age and race.

Further, this doesn't take into account that the theorized mechanism for this, less HIV viri in the vaginal fluid being attracted to the CD4, macrophage, and Langerhans cells, wouldn't apply to a vers guy and is now known to apply to anal sex generally. Moreover, I think that my main point, that gay men who won't even use condoms won't get circumcized, still stands.

If you come across a more recent study on circumcision and seroconverstion in MSM or a major health organization that backs it for MSM, please share that info with us in the comments.

Joshua Amos | May 13, 2007 5:40 AM

Thanks for the prompt response. Did you note I quoted my sources? I noted you just blew off the findings I posted by claiming other research but not posting references. Naughty. I would have thought it was obvious that the problem with such gay studies was more to establish whether the infection occurred through penetrative or receptive sex. For a man who is infected through receptive anal sex his own circumcision status plays absolutely no part. How would you suggest that the data be filtered to consider only tops?
Yes there is newer data, does the date matter? http://tinyurl.com/3ch78d