Male Circumcision Reduces Men's Risk of Contracting HPV, Herpes, Study Says
March 26, 2009
Male circumcision can reduce a man's risk of contracting the sexually transmitted infections human papillomavirus and herpes, according to a study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Wall Street Journal reports. The new research "adds to the growing scientific evidence that the procedure helps stem the spread of some" STIs, according to the Journal. It follows studies showing that the procedure can reduce a man's risk of contracting HIV through heterosexual sex. The new study -- conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University and Makerere University in Uganda -- used data from trials that were part of these studies about male circumcision and HIV in Africa.
About 30% of men worldwide are circumcised. In the U.S., about 79% of men have undergone the procedure, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (AP/Google.com, 3/25). The American Academy of Pediatrics in 1999 issued a statement that said evidence is "not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision," the Journal reports. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, Medicaid plans in 16 states do not cover circumcision as a result of the academy's stated position on the procedure. In states where Medicaid coverage for circumcision is available, rates are near 70%. In states without such coverage, rates are around 31%. The academy says that it is reviewing its guidelines on circumcision in light of the new data, expecting to complete the review by the end of this year. Susan Blank, chair of the task force on neonatal circumcision at the academy, said, "There's no argument that the trials that have been done are really compelling," adding that the study is "one piece in the discussion on circumcision." Some opponents of male circumcision say that the procedure is not medically necessary and can cause unnecessary distress. They add that proper hygiene and safer-sex practices can prevent STIs (Wall Street Journal, 3/25).
In an accompanying editorial, University of Washington researchers Matthew Golden and Judith Wasserheit write, "Evidence now strongly suggests that circumcision offers an important prevention opportunity and should be widely available" (AP/Google.com, 3/25).
The study is available online. The related editorial also is available online.
Studies Provide Sufficient Evidence to Recommend Male Circumcision As HIV Intervention, South African Researchers Say
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.