Condoms, yes; foreskins, no

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In recent years fewer and fewer baby boys have had their privates snipped as more people come to regard the practice of circumcision as unnecessary at best, barbaric at worst. But epidemiological evidence that male circumcision lowers HIV infection risk could turn that trend around.

A story in SALON.COM reports that HIV transmission rates vary widely between African countries due to all kinds of reasons, including different strains of the disease, different rates of condom use and, apparently, different traditions regarding male circumcision. HIV infection rates are considerably lower in west Africa, where it’s traditional to circumcise, than in eastern and southern Africa, where it’s not. The same pattern holds in Asia: Both Thailand and the Philippines have an active sex trade, but Thailand’s HIV rate is much higher than that of the Philippines. Circumcision is traditional in the Philippines; in Thailand it is not.

It may be that the fragile foreskin itself is particularly vulnerable to infection. In one study looking at HIV negative men married to HIV positive women, after two and a half years 40 of 137 uncircumcised men had become infected. Of 50 circumcised men, not one was positive.

If true, it’s ominous news for China and India, where the population is largely uncircumcised and HIV infection is just getting started.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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