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CIRCUMCISION   NEWS

Archived stories from 2011



16.Nov.2011 : New American Medical Association policy statement.

At its conference in New Orleans on Tuesday 15th November, the American Medical Association announced the following new policy regarding infant male circumcision:
"The AMA will in future oppose any attempt to legally prohibit infant male circumcision".
Spokesman and AMA President Peter W. Carmel MD said "There is strong evidence documenting the health benefits of male circumcision and it is a low-risk procedure. Today the AMA again made it clear that it will oppose any attempts to intrude into legitimate medical practice and the informed choices of patients."

Source:  GlobeNewswire



06.Nov.2011 : WHO clarifies position on circumcision devices

On several occasions during 2011, confusion has arisen regarding the WHO publication Framework for Clinical Evaluation of Devices for Adult Male Circumcision, some readers regarding it as a list of “approved devices” that, by implication, rejects official acceptance of anything not listed.

The following statement has been released directly to Circlist by the Geneva office of the World Health Organisation:
“...regarding the extent of information in the WHO Framework for Clinical Evaluation of Devices for Adult Male Circumcision, I would like to clarify that the information was not intended to be a comprehensive list of devices but rather to show the diversity of products.”
Further clarifiation is being sought regarding the wording of the Manual of Male Circumcision; possibly a greater source of similar confusion.



29.Oct.2011 : New research links heart disease to HPV - Another reason to circumcise

Research at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), Galveston TX, appears to have established a causal link between HPV infection and heart disease. Given that male circumcision is a known form of prophylaxis with regard to HPV, we can tentatively add the prevention of certain heart conditions to the list of benefits circumcision confers. Obviously it is 'early days' for this conclusion, which comes from research funded by the American Heart Association. More work is needed to confirm the link, which is likely to show causation principally in respect of degenerative rather than obstructive heart conditions.

More in the publication USA Today



25.Oct.2011 : New book chapter from Professor Brian Morris

Just published: Morris BJ, Castellsague X. The role of circumcision in the preventing STIs. In: Gross GE, Tyring S, eds. Sexually Transmitted Infections and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, (ISBN 978-3-642-14662-6), chapter 54, Springer, Heidelberg, 2011, pp. 715-739. [Invited Chapter]. The abstract has been added to Circlist’s Considering chapter, with an onward link to the Full Text of the chapter.



08.Oct.2011 : Turkish clamp manufacturer launches Facebook page

The ABA Group, producers of the single-use Ali'sKlamp circumcision device, have placed updated details of their product on Facebook. Those who dare brave the reported security difficulties of Facebook are invited to visit www.facebook.com/alisklamp.eng. In co-operation with the manufacturers, a review of our own page about Ali'sKlamp is under way. A new edition will appear soon, hopefully later this month, providing similar information in a more secure environment.



02.Oct.2011 : California Governor signs law to prevent circumcision bans

We previously reported that a bill (AB768) to prohibit local or county level bans on circumcision had passed the Assembly and Senate.

The measure has now been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown and takes effect immediately. It prohibits governments at local or county level from ‘restricting the practice of male circumcision’ and declares that laws affecting male circumcision must have uniform application throughout the state.

This bill now effectively extends the state’s prohibition on local legislation which would restrict the activities of medical professionals to include all persons who legally perform male circumcision (eg non-doctor mohelim).

[Update 07.Oct.: AB499 mentioned below (17.Sep.2011) has also now been signed. The exact effect of this second item of legislation as regards circumcision remains unclear.]



29.Sep.2011 : HIV vaccine shows promise - but doesn’t make circumcision redundant

A new HIV vaccine developed in Spain appears to be the first to show real progress in producing a pre-exposure vaccine against HIV, with 92.3% of trial volunteers developing some degree of immune response and 84.6% retaining immunity for at least a year. Read more about MVA-B on the PubMed website.

Three aspects to watch regarding future development: Cost, duration of immunity and efficacy. Note that, so far, little has been said about the efficacy of this new product. It is one thing to trigger a detectable immune response, something else entirely to confer quantified protection against infection.

Newspaper headlines such as “Wonder vaccine turns HIV into minor illness” (London Metro, today) seem somewhat optimistic! Circumcision is cheap, only has to be done once, imparts a known degree of protection and simultaneously confers other benefits.



17.Sep.2011 : Another circumcision-related legal change in California?

Observers of the circumcision scene in California have of late been watching the progress of Mike Gatto’s legislative measure "AB768", a Bill aimed at banning local anti-circumcision legislation. Maybe, just maybe, this has caused people on both sides of the circumcision debate to overlook another item of State legislation, the "AB 499 : Minors: Medical Care: Consent Bill".

The official summary describes the measure thus: "Allows a minor who is 12 years of age or older to consent to medical care related to the prevention of a sexually transmitted disease." On the face of things, this legislative measure refers to emergency post-exposure HIV prophylaxis and to the Gardasil® anti-HPV vaccine. In both respects, the intent is that minors age 12+ will be able to self-consent to such medical treatment without parental knowledge or control.

BUT... What about circumcision? Once AB499 is passed (as it seems it will be), could an uncircumcised 12-year old Californian boy take the initiative to get circumcised, citing Section 6926(b) of the Family Code (as amended) along with WHO-validated medical evidence that circumcision is a form of prophylaxis against sexually transmitted diseases? Time will tell.



05.Sep.2011 : Circlist Editor co-authors book chapter

Circlist Editorial HQ is pleased to announce publication of a book chapter on biomedical engineering, circumcision and medical instrumentation co-authored by Professor Brian Morris (Sydney University, Australia) and Chris Eley. Officially titled "Brian J. Morris and Chris Eley (2011). Male Circumcision: An Appraisal of Current Instrumentation" it appears as Chapter 14 in the book "Biomedical Engineering - From Theory to Applications, Reza Fazel-Rezai (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-637-9". Publisher : InTech. You can access a free copy in .pdf format on the publisher’s website.



01.Sep.2011 : UK wakes up to the realities of the HIV epidemic

A House of Lords committee headed by Lord Fowler has recently reviewed the spread of HIV/AIDS in the United Kingdom and come to the conclusion that further measures are needed to prevent a continued escalation in the number of people infected. No specific mention yet of male circumcision, but the issue of sexual Public Health is, at last, back on the agenda.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14730609



01.Sep.2011 : California ‒ One step closer to a ban on bans

Sacramento, 30.Aug.2011 (AP). The state Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would prohibit local governments from banning male circumcisions. A San Francisco measure, later blocked by a judge, would have prohibited the practice for most boys under age 18. AB768 (introduced by by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Democrat from Los Angeles) says the practice has health, cultural and other benefits. The bill passed 37-0 Tuesday without debate. It returns to the Assembly for a final vote on Senate amendments.

Source: Associated Press. See also Circlist’s earlier reports dated 13.Nov.2010, 30.April, 03 and 15.June, 28.July and 24.Aug.2011.

[Update added 08.September: The Bill completed its legislative process 06.September and has been forwarded to the Governor for final signature.]



31.Aug.2011 : A Government Minister? This way for circumcision, Sir...

Harare, 28 August : Zimbabwe’s male ministers will all undergo circumcision as part of a campaign to prevent the spread of HIV, the deputy prime minister has indicated. According to Thokozani Khupe, quoted in the state-run Sunday Mail newspaper, all men in the 150-member parliament and all male councillors in urban and rural councils should also undergo the minor operation. “All the ministers should go for the exercise if our aims of reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS are to be translated into reality. As leaders in government, we should lead by example,” she said. Zimbabwe is one of 13 countries in East and Southern Africa participating in a 2.5 billion US Dollar programme to circumcise 38 million men ‒ 80% of the male population under 49 years old ‒ over the next 15 years.

Source: ZIM Daily



24.Aug.2011 : California moves to bar all anti-male-circumcision legislation

The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday voted 5-0 for the bill by two Democratic lawmakers that would declare that male circumcision has health, cultural and other benefits, and that uniform statewide rules are needed to govern both it and a parent’s authority over whether their children receive it.

“It’s a medical procedure, and it has value,” said Assemblyman Mike Gatto, co-author of California Assembly Bill 768. Passing the bill, he told the committee, would prevent a statewide patchwork of laws governing circumcision.

Source: Adam Weintraub/Associated Press (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44246550)

Discussion in the Inter-Circ Yahoo Group seems to confirm that the issue of consent to circumcision would remain with the parent(s) until the boy reaches 18 years of age. We are advised by a California lawyer with 40+ years experience that there is no known State case law specifically relating the concept of "Emancipated Minor" to the matter of male circumcision ‒ something that, were it to exist, would alter the age-18 break point for decision-making, potentially reducing it to 14 but not lower.

[Updated 25.August.2011]



09.Aug.2011 : Civil unrest close to Circlist office

Due to the civil unrest in London, widely reported in mainstream media, there may be some disruption to communications including e-mail and uploads to the Circlist website.



28.July.2011 : Proposal to ban circumcision struck from San Francisco ballot

The anticipated referendum on the circumcision issue, first reported here on Circlist News on 13.Nov.2010, was today struck from the ballot by the courts on two grounds: The proposed law was judged to violate both the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom and a California law that makes regulating medical procedures a function of the state, not cities.

Source: Associated Press / Washington Post.



21.July.2011 : Claim of 76% reduction in HIV incidence in Orange Farm

A late-breaker oral presentation at the IAS 2011 conference in Rome on July 20th included the following from the team that has been running the Orange Farm circumcision trials. Orange Farm is a community of 110,000 adults where free safe circumcision has been offered to all willing male residents over 15 years of age.
“Between 2007 and 2010, the percentage of circumcised men increased from 16% to 50% in the 15 to 49 age group, peaking at 59% in the 15 to 24 age group. There were no differences between circumcised and uncircumcised men in terms of sexual behavior, notably condom use. In circumcised men, there were reductions of 55% in HIV prevalence and 76% in HIV incidence. The study also showed that if no man had been circumcised in this community over this period, HIV prevalence would have been 25% higher than it is and HIV incidence 58% higher.

“This study is a fantastic result for a simple intervention which costs 40 Euros, takes 20 minutes and has to be done only once in a lifetime.”
Source: IAS 2011 Rome (Italy), Abstract number WELBC02.



18.July.2011 : First Sunathrone student graduates as M.Eng


Photo - Diyana Nurfathiah  (31,323 bytes)

Photo credit: Circlist editorial staff


Diyana Nurfathiah, eldest daughter of Dr.Tasron bin Surat, today graduated from Sheffield University, UK, having gained an M.Eng in Biomedical Engineering (2.1 Honours). Her next ambition is to study for a PhD in Sports Medicine before joining the design team at Sunathrone BM Technologies Sdn Bhd in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There she is expected to work not only on circumcision clamps but also on other innovative designs in the company’s expanding product range.

Her father being unable to attend in person, Circlist’s Editor was honoured to act as stand-in at the graduation ceremony, at which Diyana also received The Sheffield Graduate Award for her many extra-curricular achievements.

Diyana’s medical career started when, as a schoolgirl, she worked as a trainee nurse alongside her father during traditional mass circumcision ceremonies in Malaysia. Strongly motivated to succeed at school, her studies at MAHSA College, Pusat Bandar Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, resulted in admission to Sheffield University where she has comfortably held her own despite English not being her native language. With two younger sisters snapping at her academic heels, Diyana faces ever-growing competition within the family to be the one to design and produce the next market-leading contribution to human health and wellbeing. We wish her every success in her chosen career.



07.July.2011 : Makers of the PrePex™ circumcision system secure funding from Acumen

New York, NY, July 7, 2011 ‒ Acumen Fund, a nonprofit global venture firm addressing poverty in South Asia and East Africa, today announced an investment in Circ MedTech, the developer of PrePex™. The capital investment will help bolster Circ MedTech’s preparations for a rapid scale-up of male circumcision as a means to stop the spread of HIV in high risk areas. You can read Acumen’s press release here.



03.July.2011 : BMA Conference declines to debate religious circumcisions

Last week, amid much publicity (including a segment on the prestigious Broadcasting House programme on BBC Radio 4), opponents of circumcision on parental initiative were attempting to persuade the British Medical Association to debate the issue at the BMA Conference in Cardiff, Wales.

Perhaps surprisingly, the BMA declined to add the motion to the conference agenda. What seems to have happened is this: The motion was proposed by Dr Antony Lempert, a long-standing opponent of circumcision, an active member of the National Secular Society and Chair of the Secular Medical Forum. It seems that the BMA decided to avoid the issue, not so much because of any clash with its own policy on circumcision but because of a danger of such a debate being labelled as hostile to Judaism and Islam. It looks like a classic instance of two campaigns becoming confused - in this instance intactivism and secularism. Such cross-overs are always an error, as there will always be those who support one campaign but do not wish to be associated with the the other.



15.June.2011 : California congressman to introduce bill to protect circumcision

It has been reported by JTA that Rep. Brad Sherman will introduce a bill in Congress to prevent cities from banning male circumcision.

This comes in response to the forthcoming San Francisco ballot measure, which would make circumcision of minors illegal in that city, and similar attempts by the anti-circumcision faction to prohibit circumcision.

“Male circumcision has been practiced for thousands of years and is a deeply important ceremony for two major religions. The Religious and Parental Rights Defense Act of 2011 ensures that Jewish and Muslim families will continue to be able to enjoy the free exercise of their religious beliefs.

“To infringe the religious rights of so many Americans, San Francisco should have some compelling medical reason”, he said. “However, the medical literature actually shows clear benefits of male circumcision. Congress has a legitimate interest in making sure that a practice that appears to reduce disease and health care costs remains available to parents."

UPDATE 16.June.2011

Hard on the heels of the above is the news that Assemblyman Mike Gatto is proposing to introduce a similar bill in the California State Legislature to stop cities introducing anti-circumcision legislation locally.



07.June.2011 : Santa Monica’s anti-circumcision ballot measure is withdrawn

According to an article in the online Hollywood newspaper The Wrap, the anti-circumcision measure planned for the 2012 Santa Monica ballot has been withdrawn by its proposer, Jena Troutman.

The ballot initiative was submitted to City Hall only two weeks ago but on Monday, Troutman unexpectedly called the Santa Monica mayor and said she’d be withdrawing the petition for a ballot initiative.

There is no indication at present as to why she has withdrawn the proposal but it may be related to the highly anti-semitic 'comic' called Foreskin Man put out by the proposed Bill’s actual author, San Diego based Matthew Hess. The 'comic' has rightly been received with contempt by most who have seen it, including Santa Monica’s Mayor Richard Bloom who said “It is clear to me at least some of the people behind this ballot measure are engaging in anti-Semitism.”

A subsequent article in a Jewish publication confirms this idea, saying that in an interview “Troutman also distanced herself from MGMbill.org, a San Diego-based organization led by Matthew Hess, the author of the 'Foreskin Man' cartoon, which has been roundly criticized in recent days as anti-Semitic”.



03.June.2011 : Opposition to San Francisco’s anti-circumcision ballot measure gathers pace

Jews and Muslims in San Francisco have put aside their differences to join with Catholics and other religions to oppose the proposed ban on childhood circumcision.

The Committee for Parental Choice and Religious Freedom has been formed with a coalition of around 150 individuals, religious and academic organisations supporting it. The coalition has a web site and a Face Book page which include contact details.



18.May.2011 : Another HIV Vaccine Trial draws a blank

The May 2011 edition of Lancet Infectious Diseases reports the failure of yet another HIV Vaccine trial, this time Merck and Co Inc’s experimental offering with the catchy name of MRKAd5. Long-term trials involving 801 adult participants showed no discernable protective effect. Worthy of note, though, is that the trial did control for the circumcision status of the male participants, 29% of whom were circumcised. (The trial took place in South Africa.) More detail is available via the <clinicaltrials.gov> website, reference NCT00413725.



12.May.2011 : News for those already HIV+ or with an HIV+ partner

[Updated 13.May.2011 07:40 UTC]

Something of an aside to the circumcision debate, but here’s some news about transmission rates when one partner is HIV+ and the other not: BBC News - Health - Item 13381292. The report of the original study giving rise to this news flash is here.

Starting anti-retroviral drug treatment immediately upon diagnosis rather than waiting until the immune system shows symptoms of compromise clearly has its merits. However, it needs to be appreciated that any such anti-retroviral drug use will only start once the infection is detected in a symptomless carrier. Thus, before the reported discovery can be translated into a workable Public Health policy, it will be necessary to devise a simple and cost-effective way of identifying symptomless carriers on a population-wide basis.



30.Apr.2011 : Ballot likely to go ahead in San Francisco

In late 2010 we reported an attempt to place an anti-circumcision "Proposition" on the ballot paper for the November 2011 local elections. It appears that the required number of nomination signatures has been obtained and that the vote is likely to take place. Despite San Francisco being somewhat unrepresentative of the US generally, this should give both sides in the circumcision debate some indication of current public opinion regarding circumcision on parental initiative.

Comment: With a bit of luck, the “intactivists” will be shown up as the vocal minority that they really are. Pro-circumcision campaigners are encouraged to be fair and factual in their campaigning, refraining from personal attacks on those who initiated the ballot. We have scientific fact on our side; don’t squander that advantage. But don’t assume that the pro-circumcision case will make itself. Get involved in the debate.

[Editor’s note: Publication of this news story was delayed by a major power outage in the neighbourhood that includes the Circlist Editorial Office.]



28.Apr.2011 : PrePex website now live

The PrePex website is now up and running.



28.Apr.2011 : Sunathrone opens circumcision clinic in KL

The circumcision clamp manufacturer Sunathrone today announced the opening of a specialised circumcision clinic on the western outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Location: No. 34A, Jalan Pekaka 8/3, Seksyen 8, 47810 Kota Damansara, Malaysia. It appears to be conveniently located with respect to the Kota-Cheras line of the urban transport system, one change (at KL Sentral) from the International Airport. Time Zone UTC+8 all year. Tel/Fax No. +603 6158 0158.



10.Apr.2011 : CIRCLIST first with the news!

We are pleased to bring you the first authorised photographs of the PrePex device, now appearing on our web page http://www.circlist.com/instrstechs/prepex.html.



29.Mar.2011 : Operation Abraham.

The Israel 21c News Service yesterday carried an extensive report about a group of Israeli surgeons from Operation Abraham conducting a campaign of male circumcision in KwaZulu Natal, using conventional surgical techniques.

Photo of Zulu King Photo of surgery

Left:  Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithin meeting with Dr. Inon Schenker of the Operation Abraham Coalition delegation.
Right:  Operation Abraham surgery in progress under local anaesthetic. Scheduled duration is 18 minutes.
Photo credits:  Amnon Gutman.



04.Mar.2011 : AAP poised to come off the fence.

The newswires are humming this morning. "According to sources close to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the AAP is poised to issue their new policy on circumcision which is expected to turn from a neutral position into one advocating the procedure". Those opposed to infant circumcision are in a panic.



02.Mar.2011 : New study reports 73% efficacy.

Paper No.36 presented by Xiangrong Kong, PhD to the 18th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (Feb. 27-March 3, 2011; Boston) reports male circumcision as returning, in a long-term follow-up study, a protective effect equivalent to a vaccine with 73% efficacy. That puts it in the same range as influenza vaccines.

More here, but watch the drafting error in early editions (we have submitted a correction): www.pediatricsupersite.com. The third paragraph should read "For the original randomized trial, 4,996 HIV-negative men aged 15 to 49 years residing in Rakai...".



22.Feb.2011 : Billboard on the Ethiopia-Sudan border.


Photo of roadside billboard (43,855 bytes)

Photo credit: E. Graybill



16.Feb.2011 : PrePex reports success in Rwanda.

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s news comes another preliminary report of a favourable outcome in Africa. Circ MedTech Limited, the company that developed the PrePex device, informs us that the formal field trial results are about to report a stunning success. Watch this one closely; it has a huge advantage insofar as no anaesthesia is required. That greatly simplifies use in remote locations. More on our web page about PrePex.



15.Feb.2011 : Successful test of Ali'sKlamp in Africa.

Correspondence received at Circlist Editorial HQ from Dr. Vedat Ali Canoğlu of Abagroup Healthcare Services Ltd. suggests that recent field trials of the Ali'sKlamp in Africa have been exceptionally successful. More detail will be published on this website once released by the study team.



12.Feb.2011 : Advance warning of TV programme on Friday 18th February

The UK’s Channel 4 TV series Embarrassing Bodies is to tackle the subject of phimosis and circumcision in its next episode. Friday 18th February, 21:00 GMT. Although nominally for UK audiences only, this channel can be received (in standard definition only) across much of Western Europe via Freesat.

Update 15.Feb.: This series is also transmitted on Australian TV, Channel 9. As yet we have no date for the airing of the relevant episode.



22.Jan.2011 : Big rise in circumcision rates in New South Wales

The Sydney, Australia, newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports a significant rise in the number of newborns being circumcised in New South Wales. The article quotes Medicare figures stating an incidence of 18% amongst 2009 births compared with 13% a decade ago. The increase is attributed to parental demand which is occurring despite the continued reluctance of RACP to endorse the procedure.



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