Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public HealthMore Press Releases related to this journal
Vol 37 (6 Issues in 2013)
Edited by: Professor John Lowe (Managing Editor), Professor Rod McClure, Professor Alistair Woodward, Dr Priscilla Robinson, Dr Sandra Campbell and Dr Anna Ziersch
Print ISSN: 1326-0200 Online ISSN: 1753-6405
Impact Factor: 1.203
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Circumcision not needed to stop HIV in Australia
Circumcision of baby boys has no place among HIV control measures in Australia.
This is the conclusion of an article published in the October issue of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.
Researchers Robert Darby and Robert Van Howe said today’s infants would not be at risk of sexually transmitted disease until they become sexually active in 16-20 years time.
By then both prevention and treatment options, as well as the virus itself, may well have changed,” Dr Darby said.
The article reviewed recent suggestions that widespread circumcision of male infants be introduced in Australia as a means of combating heterosexually transmitted HIV infection, and found them flawed in several crucial areas.
The article also criticises the notion of circumcision as a ‘surgical vaccine’ as unscientific and irresponsible from a public health point of view. “Such an exaggerated claim is likely to encourage high-risk behaviour,” Dr Darby said.
The proposals under review were largely inspired by three clinical trials in Africa. But Dr Darby said the public health situation is dramatically different in a wealthy, developed nation such as Australia.
“There is no heterosexual epidemic that would justify a costly, authoritarian program such as mandatory infant circumcision,” he said.
“On the contrary, our analysis supports the conclusion of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, in its policy statement on circumcision, that routine circumcision is not appropriate in the Australian and New Zealand context.”