Sunday, June 5, 2011

Swazi Men Not As Dumb As American Circumcision Advocates Had Hoped

I've already posted on how American money is being spent to promote male circumcision as HIV prevention in Africa via PEPFAR:

And I've already posted on how the promotion of circumcision is sending conflicting messages, making the situation worse:

Of particular interest is the Soka Uncobe, or "circumcise and conquer" campaign, which aims to circumcise over 80% of the male population in Swaziland. I also posted an article on how the campaign was already turning out to be disaster, as it was percieved to send the message that circumcision made you a "conqueror" of women, and that once you were circumcised you "conquered" HIV.

The campaign to circumcise 80% of Swazi men was launched in spite of the fact that earlier studies had shown HIV to be prevalent among CIRCUMCISED men:

"As Table 14.10 shows, the relationship between HIV prevalence and circumcision status is not in the expected direction. Circumcised men have a slightly higher HIV infection rate than men who are not circumcised (22 percent compared with 20 percent)".

However, it looks as though Swazi men aren't as gullible as people behind PEPFAR had hoped.

"The ambitious, US-funded campaign hopes to reach one in eight Swazi men, but has had disappointing results so far.

The clinic performing Mfanzile’s procedure is geared to see 80 patients a day. At best 15 trickle in - fewer than even before the campaign began in February.

Adverts urging men to “circumcise and conquer” are everywhere but organisers now admit they may not reach their targets as quickly as hoped."

Do American circumcision advocates really think African men are simply that stupid?

The article continues:
"Most of the time in Swaziland, men are the decision makers. Men must be in the forefront of this battle,” said Health Minister Benedict Xaba. “It takes time for a Swazi person to accept something new; to accept change."

Or perhaps the men of Swaziland are not as dumb as they look.

The so-called "studies" have numerous flaws that bring their credibility into question, not to mention that their conclusions don't correlate with real world empirical data:

But assuming the studies were 100% accurate, circumcision would still fail as an HIV prevention method. Circumcision is so ineffective at preventing HIV transmission that even the very authors of these studies cannot stress the use of condoms enough.

Conductors of these "mass circumcision campaigns" have the double burden of trying to convince men to undergo circumcision, AND, to make sure that they know that once they're circumcised, they'd still have to wear condoms.

But once a man has learened that all he has to do is wear a condom, why would he EVER choose to become circumcised? If he chooses circumcision, isn't that a sign that he DOESN'T really understand?

Some men have chosen to undergo circumcision. But what were they actually told? What did they understand circumcision would to for them? Were they told the truth? Or were they told whatever circumcision promoters needed to tell them in order to secure more numbers for their 80% quota?

Whatever they're telling them, it looks like not all of them are buying it. It's heartening to know that in spite of all the money, lies and deception being hurled at these African men, most have the good sense to know better.

I only feel sorry for those who were ensnared by the American mutilation machine. What must go through the minds of those who go to a clinic and find out they were infected with HIV anyway, despite having gone through radical genital surgery?

What's next for them? Expensive ARTs for the rest of their lives? And the lives of their partners?

Is this what "researchers" mean by "cost-effective?"
These "mass circumcision" campaigns are an insult to the people of Africa, and the American taxpayer. What harrassment and abject humiliation to be reeled in by nifty slogans, music and other propaganda to be told you have to both be circumcised AND have to wear condoms.

I hope this serves as a lesson to PEPFAR and others funding these abominable campaigns:
Money and propaganda can only take you so far; not everyone is as dumb as you think.

Most anybody with a brain should be able to figure out that you don't need circumcision if you wear a condom. If men are choosing to get circumcised then there is a problem; they're either not fully understanding, or circumcision promoters are deliberately LYING to them.

This IS going to come back and haunt us in the future.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, US is known for spreading circumcision where ever they go, South Korea for instance adopted the circumcision from the US started after the Korean War.
    The fact is, African men are not forced, but countries are afforded financial reward for doing so, therefore most African countries is quite happy to focus only on the positive possibilities and not even the facts of circumcision.
    1) countries who circumcise their males at the rate that was set for them get access to the Global Fund for helping HIV/AIDS, it’s a trade-off, circumcise 80% of your men and get money, or don’t then sorry to hear from your problems, this is how the desperate Malawi who are unwilling to circumcised are now forced to accept it for a society that do not practice religious circumcision.

    2)How much pressure must government apply to circumcise 80% and still call it voluntary?

    3) Circumcising prisoners in KZN once reported to stop the spread of HIV in prison, this while it is reported over and over that circumcision does not help for gay sex.

    4) Circumcised men are educated about the importance of condom usage. Very good! But if you use condoms, then what's the point of being circumcised.

    5) If a man date a woman which most men do, and have unprotected sex with her regularly. If she is HIV positive. Being circumcised will not reduce his chances of contracting the virus with 60%, It will delay it with a few days. He will still get infected. I don’t argue whether a foreskin increase the chance of contracting HIV, I argue that it will not work for the type of sexual behaviour and risks the society exhibit.
    5.1) people who take chances and are ignorant will be infected circumcised or not
    5.2) people who are responsible will have very small chance of contracting the virus, ultimately this will determine the HIV/AIDS prevalence and not circumcision. Men do not get aids because they are not circumcised.

    6) The circumcision trials was combined with educating township men about HIV and responsible sex, did the outcome of the circumcision trial measure the effectiveness of circumcision or the effectiveness of educating men about HIV?

    7) Why does most countries, Brazil, India, China reject circumcision as a means to fight HIV, why does circumcision in the US decline while US advocate it to Africa. doesn't these over big countries also have medical experts and scientists who believe it will not work.

    8) If the circumcision plan do not fight HIV as expected, will the government give men their foreskins back, will men be able to sue for misguided activism?

    9) if the same amount of money could be spent in educating children and adults about HIV, bringing the education into the workplace, into the culture/church, into schools so that the behaviour and ignorance of people can change. Only then will HIV be combated.

    Africa is easy targets for sophisticated forms of corruption, we need to know who stands to benefit from this. If there is any truth to this then at the very least Africa is used as guinea-pigs.