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NEW YORK -- City health officials have begun discussions to urge circumcision for men at a high risk of contracting AIDS, noting recent international studies that have found the procedure can dramatically reduce the risk.
The city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has asked some gay rights groups and community organizations to discuss circumcision with their members and has approached the agency that runs city hospitals and health clinics about the possibility of offering the procedure for free to men without health insurance, The New York Times reported in Thursday editions. However, a spokeswoman for the hospital agency, the Health and Hospitals Corporation, said it had not reached a decision.
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The UN report says circumcision can reduce 60% of the risk of HIV infection, for men. In an initiative to combat AIDS, the UN will be making a huge push to build circumcision programs in Africa. It’s fantastic that this could be pushed to the US too. Now someone needs to work on India, the new biggest source of infection. Now the bad news: This does not really help women, directly. A circumcised man can transmit the disease just as easily as a cloaked one. In fact, if a man with the disease does not wait to heal fully (gross) to have sex, he is actually more of a risk to transfer it. Though, going forward, fewer men will have AIDS to transmit, so this will be a net win for women too. Unfortunately, the circumcision is not a protective measure against other venereal diseases, so don’t throw away your condoms yet.