Circumcision cuts HIV risk: Study
Washington: Circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection in men, but this link cannot be explained by a reduction in sores from conditions such as herpes, according to a new research.
Two clinical trials including more than 5,000 men in rural Uganda had shown that circumcision reduced the risk of HIV infection in men by about 60 percent.
In further analyses of this data Ron Gray of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and colleagues investigated factors associated with that reduction in risk.The specifically investigated whether infection with HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes, and whether genital ulcers of any cause, could account for the lower rates of HIV infection in the circumcised study participants.
The researchers found that reduction in symptomatic genital ulcer disease accounted for only about 10 percent of the protective effect associated with circumcision, and did not find any consistent role for HSV-2 in counteracting protection. The results indicate that most of the reduction in HIV acquisition provided by male circumcision may be explained by the removal of vulnerable foreskin tissue containing HIV target cells.
They also suggest that circumcision reduces genital ulcer disease primarily by reducing the rate of ulceration due to causes other than herpes, including sores caused by mild trauma during intercourse.
The study has been published in PLoS Medicine.