Robert C. Bailey

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Robert C. Bailey
Associates with:
Gilgal Society
Colleagues & Benefactors:
Stephen Moses
Ronald H. Gray
Brian J. Morris
Bertran Auvert
Maria Wawer
Daniel T. Halperin

Robert C. Bailey is Professor of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health, University of Illinois Chicago, and Research Associate at Field Museum in Chicago.[1] Bailey has been a circumcision proponent since at least 1998.[2] Bailey was responsible (along with Stephen Moses) for one of the three major African circumcision trials (funded by NIAID, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the United States National Institutes of Health),[3][4][5] which are being used by the World Health Organization (under the guide of UNAIDS) to endorse circumcision as an HIV prevention method.[6][7][8][9][10] Bailey is associated with the Gilgal Society.[11] Bailey is an ardent promoter of male circumcision.

Circumcision research

Since 1995, Bailey has devoted most of his research activities to promoting male circumcision as a HIV prevention strategy.[12] He has conducted circumcision-related studies in varying communities in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, and the U.S. He has studied adverse events and conducted needs assessments associated with medical and traditional circumcisions in Kenya.

Bailey is the principal investigator of the randomized controlled trial of male circumcision to reduce HIV incidence in Kisumu, Kenya, and he has served as a consultant to WHO, UNAIDS, UNICEF, the World Bank, USAID, the CDC, and other national and international governmental and non-governmental agencies.[1]

In 2010, Bailey published a study with Brian J. Morris.[13]

Deceptive tactics

In Bailey's trial, the circumcised group had specific instructions to abstain from sex and use condoms that the intact control group did not. Bailey has admitted that "repeated study visits and intensive behavioral counseling" of the circumcised men were needed to reduce risk behaviors.[14]

"Research" advocating infant circumcision has been published by the University of Illinois and the Nyanza Reproductive Health Society.[15] While it may appear as if two independent medical organizations are publishing research, Robert Bailey happens to be a Professor of Epidemiology and an adjunct professor of Anthropology in the University of Illinois Chicago, as well as the Secretary of the Board of the Nyanza Reproductive Health Society.

Bailey's research on circumcision protection from HIV infection is now completely discredited. Boyle & Hill (2011) reviewed the three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and found disabling methodological and statistical errors in all three. Although a 60 percent relative reduction in HIV was claimed, the absolute reduction was a statistically insignificant 1.3 percent.[16] Garenne & Matthews (2019) report that circumcised men have as much HIV infection as intact men.[17]


Bailey is one of the primary modern day advocates for male circumcision. His research interest include "male circumcision as a strategy for HIV/STD prevention." He has written numerous articles advocating wholesale circumcision campaigns.[18] He is not a medical doctor or even a medical epidemiologist, but rather holds degrees in Anthropology and "behavioral epidemiology".[1] He has recently been described as "frustrated and impatient" with the alleged slowness to act on his research.[19]

Bailey and Daniel T. Halperin convinced eastern and south African "healers" to perform foreskin removal "as a way to alleviate chronic STD infection and prevent AIDS" in the 1990's. During the nineties alone, they convinced hundreds of South African men that circumcision would prevent HIV.[20]


I know foreskin is not pretty, but these slides are pretty.
– R. Bailey (The Lawrentian)[21]
“We’re hacking away at it every month,” Dr. Bailey said. “Those foreskins are flying.”
– R. Bailey (NY Times)[22]

Population-based studies

September 2021 saw the publication of two huge population studies on the relationship of circumcision and HIV infection:

  1. Mayan et al. (2021) carried out a massive empirical study of the male population of the province of Ontario, Canada (569,950 males), of whom 203,588 (35.7%) were circumcised between 1991 and 2017. The study concluded that circumcision status is not related to risk of HIV infection.[23]
  2. Morten Frisch & Jacob Simonsen (2021) carried out a large scale empirical population study in Denmark of 855,654 males regarding the alleged value of male circumcision in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in men. They found that circumcised men have a higher rate of STI and HIV infection overall than intact men.[24]

No association between lack of circumcision and risk of HIV infection was found by either study. There now is credible evidence that the massive, expensive African circumcision programs have not been effective in preventing HIV infection.

See also


  1. a b c REFweb kaiser network. Robert C. Bailey. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  2. Moses S, Bailey RC, Ronald AR. Male circumcision: assessment of health benefits and risks. Sex Transm Infect 1998;74(5):368-73.
  3. REFweb Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.) (2016). HIV/AIDS. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  4. REFjournal Krieger JN, Bailey RC, Opeya J, et al. Adult male circumcision: results of a standardized procedure in Kisumu District, Kenya. BJU Int.. November 2005; 96(7): 1109–13. PMID. DOI.
  5. REFjournal Bailey RC, Moses S, Parker CB, et al. Male circumcision for HIV prevention in young men in Kisumu, Kenya: A randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 24 February 2007; 369(9562): 643–56. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 31 December 2021.
  6. REFweb WHO (World Health Organization) (26 March 2007). Information Package on Male Circumcision and HIV Prevention (Insert 1) Icons-mini-file pdf.svg. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  7. REFweb WHO (World Health Organization) (26 March 2007). Information Package on Male Circumcision and HIV Prevention (Insert 2) (Document unreadable!) Icons-mini-file pdf.svg. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  8. REFweb WHO (World Health Organization) (26 March 2007). Information Package on Male Circumcision and HIV Prevention (Insert 3) Icons-mini-file pdf.svg. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  9. REFweb WHO (World Health Organization) (26 March 2007). Information Package on Male Circumcision and HIV Prevention (Insert 4) Icons-mini-file pdf.svg. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  10. REFweb WHO (World Health Organization) (5 November 2008). Information Package on Male Circumcision and HIV Prevention (Insert 5) Icons-mini-file pdf.svg. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  11. REFweb Morris, Brian C. (2007). Sex and Circumcision What every Woman needs to know, The Gilgal Society. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  12. REFweb NIH (28 October 2009). Pubmed Search: Robert C. Bailey. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  13. REFjournal Gray RH, Bailey RC, Morris BJ. Keratinization of the adult male foreskin and implications for male circumcision. AIDS. June 2010; 24(9): 1381; author reply 1381–2. PMID. DOI.
  14. REFnews (20 August 2007)."Circumcision Age-old surgery touted to reduce HIV", rinidad Express. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  15. REFnews (2 July 2012)."Kenya: Nyanza Residents Warm Up to Infant Male Circumcision", All Africa (Samuel Otieno). Retrieved 6 July 2012.
    Quote: The research, conducted by the University of Illinois and the Nyanza Reproductive Health Society to assess the acceptability of infant male circumcision...
  16. REFjournal Boyle GJ, Hill G. Sub-Saharan African randomised clinical trials into male circumcision and HIV transmission: Methodological, ethical and legal concerns PDF. Thompson Reuter. December 2011; 19(2): 316-34. PMID. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  17. REFjournal Garenne M, Matthews A. Voluntary medical male circumcision and HIV in Zambia: expectations and observations. J Biosoc Science. 1 October 2019; 14: 1-13. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  18. REFweb NIH (28 October 2009). Pubmed Search: Robert C. Bailey, NIH. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  19. REFnews (24 July 2007)."GLOBAL: AIDS community moving too slowly on male circumcision", Plus News, IRIN. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  20. REFjournal Slack G. The Case For Circumcision. Express Online. 19 May 2000;
  21. Gajewski. (2008-05-02). The impacts of male circumcision in Africa. "The Lawrentian"
  22. Pam Belluck. (2011-09-26). Obstacles Slow an Easy Way to Prevent H.I.V. in Men. "NY Times."
  23. REFjournal Mayan M, Hamilton RJ, Juurlink DN, Austin PC, Jarvi KA. Circumcision and Risk of HIV Among Males From Ontario, Canada. J Urol. 23 September 2021; PMID. DOI. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
    Quote: We found that circumcision was not independently associated with the risk of acquiring HIV among men from Ontario, Canada.
  24. REFjournal Frisch M, Simonsen J. Non-therapeutic male circumcision in infancy or childhood and risk of human immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted infections: national cohort study in Denmark. Eur J Epidemiol. 26 September 2021; 37: 251–9. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 16 January 2022.