In yesterday’s Independent (since WHEN did the Indie become the best newspaper on the market?! That crept up on me, and no mistake) there was a really quite amazing story about circumcision, and about how circumcised men were less likely to contract the AIDS virus.
Now, given that those sort of pseudo-medical articles are ten a penny in your more craptastic freebies like Metro and thelondonpaper (otherwise known as theludicrouslytitled), you could be forgiven for skipping the page and dismissing it as yet another ‘does birdshit give you cancer?’ yawnfest.
But no. Wait a moment.
They (being the science folks) have done two parallel tests, one in the US and one in South Africa, and they’ve found that circumcision reduces a man’s risk of contracting AIDS by between 48 and 60 per cent.
That’s 60 per cent.
Which given that there are, what, 28m people in Africa with AIDS, lots of whom I’m reckoning are men (I’m positively Columbo when it comes to examining the evidence in front of me, clearly), well…that’s a lot of lives that stand to be saved, isn’t it? Millions, potentially.
A very exciting news story.
Well done, science folk.
But despite the potential importance of the story, and the seriousness of the subject material, I couldn’t help but be pitifully amused by the name of the WHO operative in charge of the HIV and AIDS research division. Buried in the last para – like a beautifully placed punchline, as was clearly intended – there he was.
Mr Kevin De Cock.
Admit it, you laughed too.