SHOULD Papua New Guinea provide free circumcision for male infants as an HIV/AIDS preventative measure?
I see an Australian newspaper has reopened the debate on circumcision. Sydney University professor of medicine Brian Morris claims the latest evidence shows the operation is ''equivalent to childhood vaccination'' and it is ''unethical'' not to offer the procedure to all parents as a matter of routine.
He has written to NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner urging her to lift the ban on elective circumcision in public hospitals, claiming the cost savings in averted disease and adverse medical conditions will be ''massive''.
What the article fails to mention at all is the well-documented value of circumcision in preventing HIV/AIDS in developing countries.
"There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%,” says the World Health Organisation.
“Three randomised controlled trials have shown that male circumcision provided by well-trained health professionals in properly equipped settings is safe.
“WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasise that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence."
There is also a debate in Papua New Guinea, and it can be explored here.