Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

Tackling India's HIV epidemic: lessons from Africa

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 19 June 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1389

Culturally Inappropriate Preventive Measures

Dear Editor

Potts and Walsh are quite right in recommending investments only in
AIDS projects that can be fully implemented (1). But they contradict
themselves when they suggest male circumcision as potential primary
prevention measure.

Circumcision is often associated with religion in many parts of the
world, and more so in India where invariably all circumcised men are
Muslims. So Circumcision is unlikely to be a culturally acceptable
preventive measure in India. Moreover Circumcision is not going to be a
cost effective prevention measure. It would be a logistical nightmare to
train health workers and provide proper facilities for circumcision across
the wide geographical area of India. Tackling India’s AIDS epidemic
requires the input of ground level workers rather than a pure ‘top down’

1. Potts M, Walsh J. Tackling India's HIV epidemic: lessons from Africa.
BMJ 2003; 326: 1389-1392

Competing interests:  
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

10 July 2003
Santhanam Sundar
Consultant Oncologist
Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham