Together with colleagues Michel Garenne, Ph.D. and Antony Lempert, M.D., ARC submitted comments and a press release on the draft guidelines issued in November 2019 by US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) (https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/2019-11-25-COP20-Guidance-Full-Consolidated_Public-2-1.pdf). The guidelines outlined that PEPFAR is considering ending the program of circumcising infants in Africa while at the same time also proposing to use a Chinese device, the ShangRing, for future circumcisions. More shocking even than this news is PEPFAR’s plan, stated in the guidelines, to test the ShangRing on African people to learn what the botch rate is.
ARC expressed its appreciation of PEPFAR’s recommendation that VMMC be discontinued for most youths 14 years of age and younger while criticizing other aspects of the guidelines on ground of human rights, the law, medical ethics, and economics. Our press release and comment call for the African circumcision program to end once and for all and outline the numerous reasons why it must not continue, whether it be with the ShangRing or any other device.