New York City
health officials are considering a campaign to urge
circumcision for men at a high risk of contracting AIDS
after recent international studies found the procedure
can dramatically reduce the risk.
But Mayor Michael
Bloomberg said Thursday that he was still not sure what
role the city should have in the issue, ''whether it's
something that the government should be involved in,
or just giving advice and making sure that people get
The city health
department has asked some gay rights groups and community
organizations to discuss circumcision with their members and
has approached the agency that runs city hospitals and
health clinics about the possibility of offering the
procedure for free to uninsured men. However, a
spokeswoman for the hospital agency, the Health and
Hospitals Corporation, said it had not decided.
health agencies last week recommended circumcision for
heterosexual men, after three studies in Africa found that
the procedure reduced men's chances of contracting HIV
by up to 60%.
Calling New York
City ''the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic'' in the
United States, Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden suggested
to The New York Times that circumcision could have
promising preventative results here, despite differences
between the populations at risk in Africa and in New
studies, conducted in Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa,
involved men who said they had sex with women. In New York,
those at highest risk are men who are injection drug
users and their sexual partners as well as men
who have sex with men, the Times said.
About 65% of all
male babies in the United States are circumcised,
according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
Worldwide, about 30% of men are, the World Health
In New York,
black, Hispanic and foreign-born men are less likely to be
circumcised than white Americans, Frieden said.(AP)