A statistical review of the past medical files of more than 300 couples in Uganda, in which the female partner was HIV negative and the male was HIV positive, provides solid documentation of the protective effects of male circumcision in reducing the risk of infection among women. Male circumcision also reduced rates of trichomonas and bacterial vaginosis in female partners. The study is believed to be the first to demonstrate the benefits to female partners of male circumcision.
Specifically, male circumcision reduced by 30 percent the likelihood that the female partner would become infected with the virus that causes AIDS, with 299 women contracting HIV from uncircumcised partners and only 44 women becoming infected by circumcised men. Similar reductions in risk were observed for the other two kinds of infection, but not for other common STDs, including human papillomavirus, syphilis, gonorrhea and Chlamydia.
According to the Hopkins researchers who led the study, Ronald Gray, M.D., and Steven Reynolds, M.D., M.P.H., the findings support efforts to assess male circumcision as an effective means of preventing HIV infection. Circumcision is a practice common in North America and among Jews and Muslims, but not generally in Eastern and Southern Africa, Europe or Asia.
David March | EurekAlert!
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