Open Letter to Mr. Bill Gates
Dear Mr. Gates,
my name is Kerstin Ludwig. I’m a blogger from Germany and I would like to ask you a few questions about what your foundation is doing in Africa.
First of all: English is not my native language, so please do not judge me based on my style. I know I am making mistakes, and the content of my letter is important.
To me and to a lot of people.
Do I believe for a second that you will get this Email directly? No. I am one voice out of millions and I know that very well.
But I hope that this letter is read by a lot of people and some day you may read it somewhere in that big knowledge pool called the internet.
Mr. Gates, I deeply believe that you really care for people. That you want to help those who are suffering, and that you are one of the few people who do not care about money but about the things you can do with it. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was not founded to save taxes. Your foundation exists to help those who cannot help themselves.
And your engagement is necessary by all means.
Knowing this, I was more than a bit astonished to learn that your foundation is teaching people in Africa that circumcision is THE way to prevent getting HIV, and in order to this you are circumcising men widely in the HIV-stricken countries like Kenya and Zambia. And I was devastated when I read that you spent a huge amount of 50 million dollars to ensure that the men were circumcised.
Didn’t you question this before the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation launched this program?
I know you were born in a country where circumcision of new-borns is a routine surgery. I know that the United States are one of those countries that are stricken by HIV. I have some very dear friends in Southern US and they need drugs to fight their daily battle against HIV. And I know that they are losing ground. And I appreciate every single useful attempt to save people.
One thing I learned as a young adult in the late 80’s was: The best protection against HIV is using condom. Nothing else.
Why circumcision? Even according to the studies the WHO is referencing, circumcision is reducing the infection risk by 60% – per sexual intercourse, not by month or year.
This means that if a man is having sex with infected partners one hundred times, forty times of them he will get infected. And in a relationship you are probably having sex on a regular basis, meaning that you would be infected anyway in a year’s time. Circumcised or not.
Thus, circumcision is not an effective means of preventing HIV. The numbers tell us that the number of infections will be reduced by 60 percent – but only if every man vowed to have sex only once in his entire life!
Only the condom protects reliably against getting infected.
Adding to that, circumcision is destroying the most sensitive part of the male genital. It is the foreskin that protects the very sensitive glans. Several gay men have told me they are not able to have safe sex anymore with a condom. Because using a condom adds to the loss of sensitivity that occurred after the circumcision.
So, let me state the facts again.
Circumcision reduces the long-term infection risk only marginally.
Only a condom reliably protects against HIV.
And a circumcised penis loses sensitivity, which is exacerbated when using a condom.
Do you see the contradictions? If you have to use a condom anyways – why circumcise?
To me this program is lacking any sense, but I would feel honored if you or somebody of your foundation would be able to explain this to me without using the well known studies (and this includes the Metastudy of 2009) thatare completely busted because of the lack of proper scientific reasearch. These were studies with an agenda, they were not objective and neutral.
Fifty million dollars would be a lot more effective if spent for sexual education and free access to condoms in those devastated countries.
If anybody in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is reading this letter: Please think the decision over. Africa and its people need real help. Not the false help of a circumcision that only save the lifes of a few. Africa needs you at your best.
I am only one voice out of a choir of millions. But maybe, just maybe, you are listening to me.
Big hugs to the Turtle of Doom who kindly proofread the text