BBC: Tanzania male MPs face circumcision call to stop HIV spread (4)

10 February, 2019

Dear Massimo,

Many thanks for your message. I'm sorry you interpreted my two messages in this way.

For reference, my two HIFA messages are here:



In both cases, as always, my intention is to stimulate discussion and debate about important health issues: prevention of HIV and child murder, respectively, in these cases.

In the first message, I pointed people to a news item on BBC, provided extracts from the article, and made the following comments:

"1. Encouragement is one thing, coercion is something else.

2. I could not find further information about this in the Tanzania media, suggesting that Jackline Ngonyani's suggestion is perhaps not being seriously considered.

3. I would be interested to understand more about the actual impact of circumcision. The WHO website confirms 'There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%'. But is there a risk that some circumcised men may assume wrongly that they are not at risk of HIV and may consequently engage more frequently in unprotected sex, thereby counteracting any benefit from the procedure and putting women at risk? WHO guidelines on circumcision and HIV prevention are currently in development. In the meantime, I look forward to learn from HIFA members."

I do not feel the above comments are disparaging, and I stand by them.

In the second message, again I pointed people to a news item on BBC, provided extracts from the article, and made the following comment:

"Another child murder in Tanzania, apparently for witchcraft (?traditional medicine). This child did not have albinism, unlike many previous child murders."

Again, I do not feel the above comment is disparaging.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: