AIDS & Circumcision in South Africa

July 21, 2006

The Washington Post has an excellent - if somewhat depressing - article on the tragic irony of a new law banning circumcision of boys under 16 in South Africa despite evidence that the practice reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 60%:

Circumcision removes a penis's foreskin, which is made up of cells particularly susceptible to infection with and also possibly effective at transmitting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In addition, researchers believe that the foreskin traps fluid, allowing the virus to live longer on an uncircumcised penis after intercourse and increasing the likelihood of infection.
So much for evidence-based policy making.


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.