Should Australia Be Encouraging Circumcision in Infant Males?


Circumcision is now known as a “surgical vaccine” as far as the topic of HIV is concerned. The recent increase in the rates of heterosexually transmitted HIV in Australia has resulted in a proposed widespread circumcision of infants and minors as a measure of curbing the epidemic. This method is viewed as an effective HIV control measure yet in reality it is not, as its pros outweigh its cons.

The situation in Australia is different from Africa

Farmer (2006, p.p 111-115) in the chapter ’The blame game’ observed that recent data from three major circumcision trials in Africa have shown that adult male circumcision reduces the rate of HIV transmission. In Africa, most of the infections are through heterosexual transmission and account for a large number of the cases whereas in Australia the situation is different as this kind of transmission accounts for a very small fraction of the infected. According to The National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, a drug-free heterosexual in Australia has a risk factor of less than 1% of getting infected; hence the infections through this process are minimal.

Circumcision is not the most effective method of combating HIV transmission

(Schneiderman (2001, p.p 86-99) in the chapter ‘public health and society’ thought that this strategy will emphasize circumcision as being a preventive measure, which as a result will lead to the spread of the virus more. The circumcised male will assume that once one is circumcised the risk of infection is lower so one does not have to engage in safe sex, even though a condom reduces the likelihood of acquiring the virus by 95%, and a condom should still be used even after one is circumcised. Recent studies have shown that the chances of a circumcised male getting HIV if he is in a heterosexual relationship are reduced by 60% as compared to an uncircumcised male, hence a condom is a more effective way of controlling the spread of HIV.

It serves the interests of only the circumcised males in heterosexual relationships

Circumcision only protects the circumcised male’s chances of acquiring the disease from an infected female partner but does nothing to prevent transmission from an infected male partner to the female sexual partner; hence women are still at risk of getting infected. It also does not apply when it comes to male homosexual relationships which account for 80% of the infected people in Australia.

The surgery is risky if not well performed

Turnock (2004, p.p 101-113) in the chapter ‘What it entails’ indicated that there have been numerous cases of post-surgery complications. These complications pose serious health risks which can cause serious health problems, for example, meningitis, and severe blood loss, which can eventually lead to death.

Circumcision only prevents one mode of transmission

HIV can be transmitted in very many ways ranging from mother-to-child transmission, infection from a needle that is sterilized, breastfeeding, unsafe healthcare, tattooing and many other ways, these other forms of transmission are not in any way prevented through this procedure.

Circumcision reduces the sensitivity of the penis

Coreil (2009, p.p 97-108) in the chapter ‘Behavioral foundations’ stated that, recently, it was found that circumcision removes the most sensitive parts of the penis, which are healthy functioning tissues, hence, leaving the penis less sensitive and functional.

Circumcision is not the answer for the increasing case of heterosexually transmitted HIV. Minkler (2005, p.p 51-67) in the chapter ‘Community and health ’ argues that there are countries where the practice of circumcision is so widespread but the rate of infection is still very high and in others, it is vice versa.


The circumcision policy cannot effectively work well in developed countries such as Australia; more emphasis should however be put on other methods of HIV control such as issuing of free condoms, safe sex campaigns, and women empowerment campaigns. The risks and harm of widespread circumcision are more than its benefits.


Coreil, J 2009, ‘Behavioral foundations’, in Social and behavioral foundations of public health, SAGE Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA., p.p 97- 108.

Farmer, P 2006, ‘The blame game’, in Aids and accusation: Haiti and the geography of blame, University of California Press, Berkely, CA., p.p 111- 115.

Minkler, M 2005, ‘Community and health’, in Community organizing and community building for health, Rutgers University Press, Piscataway, NJ., p.p 51-67.

Schneiderman, N 2001, ‘Public health and society’, in Integrating behavioral and social sciences with public health, American Psychological Association, Washington D.C., p.p 86-99.

Turnock, B J 2004, ‘What it entails’, in Public health: what it is and how it works. Jones and Bartlett Learning, Burlington, MA. p.p 101- 113.


Coreil, J 2009, Social and behavioral foundations of public health, SAGE Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA.

This tome scrutinizes the emerging concerns in health from a social and behavioral sciences perception. It incorporates a social-environmental structure to concentrate on the multi-level influences on health. This structure has also been incorporated in enhancing the leading hazard approach to health behavior. The book uses instances from the head of public health to exhibit the importance of key competencies in the topic to other miscellaneous global issues. This volume is specially designed for scholars as an appropriate manual for the graduates’ courses in public health and nursing of issues on health that scrutinize emerging issues in health.

Turnock, B J 2004, Public health: what it is and how it works. Jones and Bartlett Learning, Burlington, MA.

Turnock’s book provides a simple preface to the vast and complex topics on the physical condition of the masses. It goes further to talk about the ways through which the topics on public health are implemented on daily basis in the United States. A variety of examples have been given in the book to exhibit the functioning of public health practices in modern-day America. This educational volume broadly covers the evolution of public health, its mission, and expectations shortly. This tome is very significant as it helps an individual to acknowledge the progress of health within the community.

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