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CA Experts Dispute Report That Claims Circumcision Could Halt HIV Cases

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Friday, July 30, 2010   

BERKELEY, Calif. - A California group is disputing claims that new HIV infections could be prevented if male circumcision rates were increased. The study promoting circumcision, presented at the AIDS conference in Vienna earlier this month, found more than four million new HIV infections could be prevented in Africa if male circumcision rates were increased to 80 percent.

But, Marilyn Milos, founder of the California group, National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC), questions the findings and says the research is being used to universalize the practice.

"Our organization works not to stop circumcision if an adult wants to be circumcised, that's one thing, but one of the things that's happening in Africa now is that they are wanting to circumcise infants. Of course, that's harmful to the child, and then to the man he becomes."

Milos says her group is working towards "genital autonomy," giving everyone the right to make their own decision on the matter. She says that's more important than the issues raised by proponents of circumcision.

"All of those issues are trumped by the baby's right to his own body and by human right. The parents' job is to protect the baby until the baby grows up and is able to protect himself and make those personal choices for himself."

Milos, a registered nurse, says condoms are more effective in stopping the spread of AIDS and that some men have become infected because they mistakenly believe circumcision protects them. In 1980, 90 percent of U.S. parents had their babies circumcised at birth. The latest figures show that dropping to 57 percent nationally and in California to about 25 percent.

The eleventh-annual International Symposium on Circumcision, Genital Integrity, and Human Rights is underway through Saturday in Berkeley. The event will feature more than 30 speakers from ten countries, who are considered international experts on the psychological, anthropological and physical aspects of circumcision, according to NOCIRC.

More information is available at www.nocirc.org/11thsymposium.php.




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