Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dr. Paul Fleiss, an intactivist - Rest in Peace

Well known Pediatrician, Doctor Paul Fleiss (1933-2014) died on Saturday July 19th at the age of 80 years.

While most of the media coverage focused on legal issues related to his daughter, the Huffington Post offered a warmer memorial: "There weren't a lot of vegetarian doctors who advocated breastfeeding for every baby and mother nearly 40 years ago [...] Dr. Fleiss was a brilliant physician and teacher and cared for tens of thousands of babies over his five decades in pediatrics. He will be missed."

What few media mentioned (with the exception of Daily Mail) was his opposition to routine infant circumcision, in spite of him being of Jewish ancestry. Dr. Paul Fleiss was the author of "What your doctor may not tell you about circumcision: Untold facts on America's most widely performed and most unnecessary surgery". His article in Mothering Magazine, "The case against circumcision", remains a most powerful reading.

Dr. Fleiss was featured on Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Circumcision.

The bodily integrity movement will always have a debt of gratitude to Dr. Paul Fleiss for his compassionate heart and courage to speak against the practice of neonatal circumcision.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Circumcision and HIV, some of those questions

When you hear that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV by 60%, remember that those studies were done in specific countries of Africa. Not in the U.S.A., not in Europe, not in Latin America.

So when Arleen Leibovitz and Katherine Desmond tell you that "the groups that Medicaid covers are precisely those that experience the greatest prevalence of HIV and other STIs, which MC can effectively avert", remember that no American studies have shown a higher prevalence of HIV and STIs among uncircumcised males.

It would be easy. The U.S. collects all kinds of information on HIV positive patients. So why wouldn't American statistics be easily available? How the percentage of circumcised HIV positive males compares to the U.S. estimated prevalence of circumcision, compared to the intact (uncircumcised) HIV positive males with reference to the estimated intact population?

In fact, observational studies in the U.S, the NAVY, the Caribbean, the UK, have failed to show that protective effect from circumcision. A trial on MSMs (men who have sex with men) in Peru also could not find any protective effect.

And why is it that the U.S. is so interested in exporting circumcision to Haiti, the Caribbean, Latin America, China and other places? Why is it that there are no programs to export circumcision to Europe and Japan? Wouldn't they "benefit" from circumcision, if it was indeed a preventive measure against HIV?