This, based on a studies in Africa showing that "circumcision was shown to lower a man’s risk of contracting the virus from heterosexual sex by about 60 percent" according to an article in The New York Times which first broke news of the City's alleged plans.
“This is not something that has a lot of buzz,” said the City's Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden in discussing the study then but, as the Times noted, "he added that even 1,000 circumcisions in the right subgroups might slow the spread of AIDS."
At the time, back in April, I balked at the way the Department of Health seemed ready to promote public HIV prevention policies aimed at gay men of color in New York based on studies of heterosexual males in Africa.
As you might also remember Dr. Frieden later released a letter staring that the New York Times had misrepresented his words and that the Department of Health had no such plans in the pipeline and then appeared at a public forum where he said it was just a "discussion" on whether it made sense to explore such a policy.
Now comes word of a study published in the December 15 issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes that seems to indicate that the Department of Health was wrong in trying to extrapolate results from the African study to argue that it might make sense to circumcise gay men of color in New York.
The full text of the study is only available to subscribers but the abstract posted online ("Circumcision Status and HIV Infection Among Black and Latino Men Who Have Sex With Men in 3 US Cities") says that the study engaged 1,154 black men who have sex with men and 1,091 Latino men who have sex with men in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles found that:
Circumcision status was not associated with prevalent HIV infection among Latino MSM, black MSM, black bisexual men, or black or Latino men who reported being HIV-negative based on their last HIV test. Further, circumcision was not associated with a reduced likelihood of HIV infection among men who had engaged in unprotected insertive and not unprotected receptive anal sexIn short, "there was no evidence that being circumcised was protective against HIV infection among black MSM or Latino MSM."
Turns out that Brazil got it right from the start.
In any case, some good news on the eve of World AIDS Day for uncut gay and bisexual men of color in New York: You may keep your hoodies! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!