Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Does male circumcision reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS?

Epidemiologists have long noted that the incidence of AIDS is higher in parts of Africa where men are not circumcised and lower in areas where they are. Circumcised men have have been shown to havew fewer genital and urinary tract infections. Speculation was that their female partners might have fewer vaginal infections too.

Then in 2005 and 2006, three studies concluded that adult men who are circumcised reduce their risk of HIV infection by up to 60 percent.

In 2007, the World Health Organization included male circumcision to its list of recommended AIDS prevention measures.

However, a new study by scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, suggest that when men are already HIV-positive, circumcision may increase the risk of infecting their female partners.

The results of the study were not statistically significant, but they did surprise researchers who had expected to see the risk of infection reduced rather than raised. The infections in question were clustered among couples who resumed sexual activity before completion of the 30 day post-circumcision healing period.

A separate study from Rakai in Uganda showed some protective effects for women whose male partners were circumcised while HIV-negative. The women had a 25 percent lower rate of infection with genital herpes. a 50 percent reduction in trichomoniasis, and a 20 percent reduction in bacterial vaginosis.

The results were reported at the 15th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in San Francisco.

Story reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe and New York Times.

Creative Commons License

This article is published by James Terral under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it free of charge, wholly or in part, with attribution and for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. Commercial media must contact World Report worldreport (at) cjly dot net for permission and fees. Some postings on this site are published under different terms.

For example, this site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. World Report makes this material available in order to advance understanding of the issues by reporting, reviewing, and criticizing relevant public statements.

Canada's Copyright Act specifies in sections 29.1-29.3 that “fair dealing for the purpose of criticism, review, or news reporting does not infringe copyright if the following are mentioned:
(a) the source; and
(b) if given in the source, the name of the
(i) author, in the case of a work,
(ii) performer, in the case of a performer's performance,
(iii) maker, in the case of a sound recording, or
(iv)broadcaster, in the case of a communication signal.
Recommend this Post

Sphere: Related Content