Men, Have a Drink Before Reading This

If you're a man, you might want to take a stiff shot before reading this. But men in Africa are being forced to do much more.

That's because some of the new devices being used for circumcision -- heavily promoted to staunch HIV and AIDS -- may be doing more harm than good.  And having people who are not doctors perform the procedure -- another reason these new devices were brought into use -- is adding to the complications risk, even though it is saving the country money. 

In the U.S. and other countries, most circumcisions are done at birth. But in Africa, where this is not the custom, it's grown men who are now choosing to have this most painful of surgeries.

According to Dave Mayers at, circumcision can reduce the threat of spreading HIV, or being infected by it, by 60%.  That's why men are even considering it in this country where almost 24 million people live with the virus that causes AIDS.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region hardest hit by HIV in 2011, about 69 percent of the global total, Reuters reports.

One of the deices most commonly used is the clamp, "a plastic device that works by cutting off blood supply to the foreskin for a little over a week, at which point it’s removed by a trained technician," Mayers writes. "Unlike the most common circumcision technique — which requires a doctor and weeks of recovery — the clamp makes no incisions and promises fewer follow-ups at a clinic."
But some of the country’s AIDS activists claim that it is dangerous to use, especially in untrained hands. "The device has only been studied once in a peer-reviewed journal, and the results were abysmal. The article said that 37% of the men who used the clamp experienced complications, compared to only 3.4% of men who were circumcised with forceps," Mayers notes.
So be grateful you don't live in a country where it's more common to wait till you're older for this procedure.  And be doubly grateful that it's available to many more men now, to help stop the spread of this deadly disease.


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