„In the ages of Muslim, Christian and indigenous slavery, many African men were castrated to serve as eunuchs. In colonial racist regimes African men were forbidden to mate white women. Not few were abused for medical experiments in the twentieth century – even in the USA, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment denied treatment to 399 poor black men until 1972. Racism has always paired with sexual aggression. Today, African men take part in a mass-experiment by the WHO and UNAIDS and African doctors, who all promise to eradicate HIV through circumcision – the force is less brutal but far more effective than ever. Global health agencies and local authoritarian structures pressurize and bribe men into sacrificing a part of their genitals. […]“
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Foreskin 419 – The Heaviest Assault On African Men’s Sexual Life Since Colonial Times Remains Uncovered
In the ages of Muslim, Christian and indigenous slavery, many African men were castrated to serve as eunuchs. In colonial racist regimes African men were forbidden to mate white women. Not few were abused for medical experiments in the twentieth century – even in the USA, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment denied treatment to 399 poor black men until 1972. Racism has always paired with sexual aggression. Today, African men take part in a mass-experiment by the WHO and UNAIDS and African doctors, who all promise to eradicate HIV through circumcision – the force is less brutal but far more effective than ever. Global health agencies and local authoritarian structures pressurize and bribe men into sacrificing a part of their genitals.
Zimbabwe’s circumcision rates had been as low as 10 % until 2009, when a government campaign vowed for the circumcision of at least 1.2 million men. From 1997 to 2007 the HIV-infection rates dropped from 29% to 16% of the population, but the winning team of awareness campaigns was changed in favour of circumcision. This campaign no longer alters the minds of men and women but male genitals. Authoritarian systems don’t want their populace to think, but to obey with their bodies. Similar campaigns are running in Uganda and Swaziland. Discrimination of uncircumcised men has been reported in the course of those campaigns. Uncircumcised Ugandan men were threatened by mobs who blamed them for infecting women. At the same time circumcision rates dropped heavily in Western countries, where individuals have free access to information about circumcision.
The moderate sceptic might ask: To eradicate HIV, wouldn’t it be a small price to sacrifice a tiny part of male skin?
First of all, it is not a tiny part of skin. The external part of the foreskin protects the glans from sunburn and injuries while the interior mucosa keeps the glans moist and sensitive. Both parts together make up to 60 % of the penile skin including the most sensitive areas of the penis at the tip of the foreskin. You would not sacrifice a finger to prevent HIV, but the foreskin underwent decades of heavy discrimination as small, smelly, wizened, ugly and useless – a discrimination strategy well known from the discrimination of female genital organs.
But does circumcision indeed prevent HIV? First of all, circumcision inflicts a wound that needs at least 4 weeks to heal. In the meantime the entire penis remains swollen and is very open to infections of all kind. The scar is vulnerable to unsensitive techniques of masturbation and rough sexual intercourse – it can open up any time and especially in the first year which results in bleedings and itching. In the months after circumcision, the glans skin totally alters into a rather dry, hard skin with sharp transition areas around the external urethral orifice. The peeling of callused skin often creates micro-fissures on the glans. Any of these side-effects increases the risk of infection with HIV. Also consider the fact, that the foreskin provides moisture and enables the penis to perform elastic movements, and that the inflexible state of a circumcised penis creates more friction and fissures on all involved sexual organs.
Therefore, common sense dismisses the claim, that circumcision would decrease the risk of contracting sexual diseases. Anyone can easily compare infection rates in different countries and find not a single hint at any beneficial effect of circumcision. Just the opposite: the HIV-rates in the USA (0.6%) with a majority of circumcised men are six times higher than in Norway (0.1%) with only a small minority of circumcised men. If other factors dominate the infection rates in such a massive way, it is irresponsible to promote the amputation of the foreskin as a cure for HIV.
The most optimistic studies boast 60% of prevention rates for circumcised men. Here we come to methods. Critical medical doctors are very wary against strategies used by pharmaceutical companies to produce bloated figures to sell their products. If you have two cohorts of 1000, then the difference between 4 infected persons in the first cohort and 6 infected persons in the other, the overall insignificant difference can be inflated easily through percentage calculation. Undisputedly, a condom offers up to 99% of protection – subject to the condition of proper use. In the aftermath of circumcision-campaigns, more men and women will pressurize and seduce their partners into unprotected intercourse.
Until more of the affected African men will have the means to question the onslaught carried out on their private sphere by campaigns masked as modern medicine, some will already have died from fatal complications, others will have suffered from severe complications like necrosis of the penis and all will have lost their foreskin. In a far future, cultural anthropology will produce nice volumes discussing the bygone bio-politics of African authoritarian systems. They should rather use their privileges now and today to advise African men against such campaigns and to speak out publicly against one of the most destructive features of Global Health policies in recent times.
 See: National AIDS Council Zimbabwe. http://www.nac.org.zw/news/women-also-benefit-male-circumcision