This is in response to the reports about circumcision halving the HIV risk. This was in 1997 that at the behest of the then Director of AIIMS and the renowned Epidemiologist, Mr. LM Nath I had authored “Islamic Model for Control of AIDS”. Though there were a few reports of the possible relationship between circumcision and protection from AIDS, I was perhaps the first in the world to have advocated the inclusion of circumcision as part of the AIDS Control Programme. Following the publication of that book, PEACE had organised a three-day seminar on “In Search of a Comprehensive Solution for AIDS” in collaboration with National AIDS Control Organisation. In this seminar too, I argued in favour of the inclusion of circumcision in the NACO programme. The proceedings of that seminar were published in 1999, again with the financial aid provided by the NACO. But NACO did never take the recommendations of the seminar seriously. It is now after about 8-9 years of the demand first made by me that the WHO and other organisations are gearing up to include circumcision as part of the strategy to prevent AIDS.
In my works I have also recommended some other measures related to personal and sexual hygiene that, combined with circumcision, can lead to a marked reduction in the incidence of the deadly infection. These include washing of the organs immediately after intercourse, avoidance of sex during menses and popularisation of the Islamic concept of Iddah (Waiting Period), which means that a woman cannot have intercourse with two males without a gap of at least three months. The concept of Iddah can be used to scan the risk groups like prostitutes before rehabilitating them in case they abandon their profession. This is to be noted that almost all the sex related infections have incubation periods of less than 90 days and AIDS too has a window period of 90 days in most cases. It is high time we studied all the possible measures to counter the menace of the deadly virus.
Dr Javed Jamil