The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spent $823,200 of economic stimulus funds in 2009 on a study by a UCLA research team to teach uncircumcised African men how to wash their genitals after having sex.
The genitalia-washing program is part of a larger $12-million UCLA study examining how to better encourage Africans to undergo voluntary HIV testing and counseling – however, only the penis-washing study received money from the 2009 economic stimulus law. The washing portion of the study is set to end in 2011.
“NIH Announces the Availability of Recovery Act Funds for Competitive Revision Applications,” the grant abstract states. “We propose to evaluate the feasibility of a post-coital genital hygiene study among men unwilling to be circumcised in Orange Farm, South Africa.”
Because AIDS researchers have been unsuccessful in convincing most adult African men to undergo circumcision, the UCLA study proposes to determine whether researchers can develop an after-sex genitalia-washing regimen that they can then convince uncircumcised African men to follow.
“The aim of the proposed feasibility study is to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a post-coital male genital hygiene procedure, which participants will be asked to practice immediately post-coitus or at least 12 hours after,” reads the abstract.
While it’s true that the twig-and-berries should be kept clean and that squeaky clean wedding tackle could indeed help reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS, perhaps instead of taking $823,200 in money from genuinely hurting American families and massaging it into the meat-and-two-bits of African men, such a study could be funded by the numerous AIDS-related charities in the landscape of the private sector.
When the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act came about, we were promised that it was about jobs here, about economic stimulus here, and about … well … reinvesting in the recovery of America. As a man, I understand the value of giving the undercarriage a little looking-after, but as a taxpayer I am beyond angry that our money has been sent to Africa to scrub down private parts.
How many schools across this country are in need of extra textbooks? How many miles of border fence still need to be completed? There are numerous legitimate uses for $823,200 on both the federal and state level here in the United States of America — scrotal scrubs on the African subcontinent should not even enter into our priority list.