Thursday, December 14, 2006

The New York Times on AIDS and Sex

This is going to be a very strange post. Frankly, I don't know why I'm writing it.

An article by the New York Times struck me as rather odd. The article is Circumcision Halves H.I.V. Risk, U.S. Agency Finds. You may need to register with the NYT website to read it.

First of all, it's a serious issue: prevention of AIDS and so on. And the idea that circumcision reduces AIDS's prevalence could be turned into a Ha Ha I Told You So commentary about Jewish religious practice, except that those types of commentaries always backfire when the original story turns out to be false, or something else pops up that shows circumcision as harmful in some other way, or simply when it's noted that it's not the religious practice but simply the practice that is the important factor.

Anyway, so many things about this article simply struck me as, um, odd. Such as the names of the researchers and institutes:
  • The National Institutes of Health (sic)
  • Dr. Kevin M. De Cock (an AIDS researcher and expert on circumcision, I kid you not)
  • National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (kind of strange bedfellows)
  • Dr. Richard G. A. Feachem
  • Dr. Mark Dybul (they must be making these up)
  • President Bush’s $15 billion Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (huh?)
And a few other things:
  • The study on whether circumcision may help protect you from acquiring AIDS was halted when they suddenly realized that waiting to see whether more people developed AIDS without possibly better protection could be unethical, somehow (duh!)
  • That someone might think that getting circumcised would help protect them from acquiring AIDS due to drug injection, so they felt that they had to state that it wouldn't.
  • That complications in isolating factors in the spread of AIDS include "patronage of prostitutes by miners" (sic) and "men’s insistence on dangerous dry sex — with the woman’s vaginal walls robbed of secretions with desiccating herbs." (explained here, and, ewww. "Shredded newspapers, cotton, salt and detergents are also used.")
  • Recounting Nelson Mandella's "hilarious account of his own Xhosa circumcision, by spear blade, as a teenager. But not all initiation ceremonies are laughing matters ..." (Hilarious! Ha ha! No.)
  • And explaining how the foreskin carries other viruses to the vagina: "... cells on the inside of the foreskin were also more susceptible to that [other] virus, which is not closely related to H.I.V." ("which is not closely related to H.I.V.?" What does that mean, exactly?)

Board and card games about AIDS and sexual health

Magical Aids Journey

Think Negative!

Contraception: the Board Game

Condomgame (not the flash game) by Care for the Homeless

Building Bridge pack and game by Working With Men. They also publish The Violence Game: "The game aims to encourage young men to reflect on their values attitudes and behavior about violence and conflict."

Rubber to the Rescue and Sex Jeopardy/Connection by the University of Maine's Peer Education Program. They also publish Shots & Ladders:
Similar to everyone’s favorite childhood board game, this college style Chutes and Ladders game will engage students in a lively competition. The team that learns the most about alcohol, marijuana and other drugs by moving its shot glass around the large M-(for UMaine)-shaped board game course wins the game. An exciting and informative format for teaching students the nitty gritty and the unknowns about drug and alcohol use.
An unnamed game from Uganda's Ministry of Education and Sports

There's also a game about menopause. But if you want to learn about menstruation, you're out of luck. No board games about menstruation, yet.



Lirun said...


thats funny

Anonymous said...

From Docuticker, a link to the NIH report.