The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol

Medical News

Circumcision Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in Scotland: Limited Potential for HIV Prevention

November 5, 2010

Male circumcision has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV acquisition among heterosexual men, but the impact among men who have sex with men is not known," reported the study authors. Their aim was to describe sexual practices by circumcision status, and to explore the feasibility of conducting research on male circumcision for HIV prevention among MSM in Scotland.

Men visiting Glasgow and Edinburgh's commercial gay scenes were recruited to fill out anonymous, self-completed questionnaires and provide oral fluid samples. Data were analyzed using SPSS 15.0. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratio (OR) and 95 percent confidence interval (CI). ORs were adjusted for age and nationality, which were significantly associated with circumcision status.


A total of 1,508 men completed questionnaires (70.5 percent response rate) and 1,277 provided oral fluid samples (59.7 percent response rate). Overall, 1,405 men were eligible for inclusion in the study. Of the men, 233 (16.6 percent) reported having been circumcised. Compared to Scottish men, nationals from non-European countries (the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) were more likely to be circumcised (13.1 percent vs. 50.0 percent, respectively, p<0.001).

HIV prevalence was comparable among circumcised and uncircumcised men (4.2 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively). "Although biologically, circumcision is most likely to protect against HIV for men practicing unprotected insertive anal intercourse (UIAI), only 7.8 percent (91/1,172) of uncircumcised men reported exclusive UIAI in the past 12 months," the authors found. Few men (13.9 percent) reported being willing to participate in HIV prevention research on circumcision, and just 11.3 percent of uncircumcised men said they were willing to do so.

"The lack of association between circumcision and HIV status, low levels of exclusive UIAI, and low levels of willingness to take part in circumcision research suggest circumcision is unlikely to be a feasible HIV prevention strategy for MSM in the UK. Behavior change should continue to be the focus of HIV prevention in this population," the authors concluded.

Back to other news for November 2010

Adapted from:
Sexually Transmitted Infections
10.10.2010; Vol. 86: P. 404-406; Lisa M. McDaid; Helen A. Weiss; Graham J. Hart

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our advertising policy.