And This Will Really Get Elmo Going ...

By Jeffrey Goldberg

Israeli doctors are training African doctors in the science of adult male circumcision, as a means to prevent the spread of AIDS. Sounds like a good thing, except if you don't like Israel or circumcision. Conspiracy-mongers, start your engines!

A group of Israeli experts on performing circumcision have taught African women doctors to circumcise men to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

The effort is part of the Operation Abraham project headed by Dr. Inon Schenker.

This was revealed on Sunday in a report summarizing 18 months of activity by the project, which includes 14 African countries. Using local anesthetic, the female doctors - who had little experience in the operation - learned to remove the foreskins using only local anesthetics in a community clinic, even though the surgery was on adult men. At present, they perform some 100 of the operations every day.

The Israeli project has trained 17 medical teams at 13 hospitals in KwaZulu- Natal in South Africa.

Schenker, a veteran AIDS prevention specialist based in Jerusalem, said that each circumcision performed prevents five cases of HIV infection in a continent where AIDS is endemic. The Israelis were accepted because of the country's long experience with performing ritual circumcision on adult immigrants who want to become formally Jewish. The project has been recommended by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS for reducing the spread of HIV.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/and-this-will-really-get-elmo-going/258980/