Friday, February 23, 2007

20 Skins a week, and the Chance to Get Ahead

This punch line to a old joke about mohels has taken on a whole new significance this week with the announcement that male circumcision has a significant role to play in AIDS prevention.

Rersearchers, who shut down a study in Kenya and South Africa "early" because of the remarkable insight they'd discovered, were beaming the good word world-wide. Apparently circumcision "would have prevented the 35 000 NEW cases of AIDS" that happened during the study period. I guess it's too late for them.

They were so excited about the good news that they left out the part about the proof. Apparently it's so crystal clear that it might not need any proof. Think of all the money that can be saved by just training up a generation of mohels for African service. Aftter all there are some parts of Africa where genital mutilation is still a cultural tradition. But I guess we'd need them Basutos and Bantus using some first world techniques, rather than a rusty butcherknife and piece of string. A whole new, permanent, class of pseudo-medicos the community nip-artist. How advanced a concept!

Meanwhile they same gang are poo-pooing the President of Gambia who claims he's the personal AIDS curer of his country. Apparently the science involved is similar, but he doesn't have Bill Gates, Steve Lewis and a billion dollars on side.

This whole notion first arose three years back when it was noticed that AIDS transmission rates in northern Africa were in no way comparable to the epidemic in southern countries. At first this was stupidly written off to the fact that most of these countries were Moslem, and Moslems generally take a dim view of putting willy where he shouldn't be. Then it was discovered that most Moslem men are circumcised - and science took it from there.

If the aids activists want to run a campaign that might work, run an 'Anti-fucking campaign'. It'll work in Africa where superstition is just below the surface. A campaign that leads, say, truckers to believe that women have teeth in their vaginas might be good, the notion of having one's peter cropped permanently might just be credible there. Describing prostitutes as having really 'bad gums' might deter the adventurous. Telling them that homosexual activity can result in permanent bonding, with some contrived pictures of four-legged men might work. Drug activity can be deterred by threats of implanted Ju-Ju eggs. And all this would cost next-to-nothing!

Something tells me that in 10 years, or so, when it's discovered that having a skinless frank really hasn't cured AIDS, some unscientific type might point out that mass conversion to Islam might have been more efficacious. But then that's much akin to seeking a cure by dipping it in holy water, or a virigin.

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