Male Circumcision Might Reduce Risk of Male-to-Female HIV Transmission, Study Says
February 9, 2006
Male circumcision might reduce the risk of HIV transmission from HIV-positive men to their female partners, according to a study presented Wednesday at the 13th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver, Reuters reports (Fox, Reuters, 2/8). Ronald Gray of Johns Hopkins University and colleagues from 1994-2001 studied the medical records of more than 300 Ugandan couples in which all the men were HIV-positive and all the women were HIV-negative (Towie, Nature.com, 2/8). Researchers found that male circumcision reduced the rate of HIV transmission to the women by 30%, with 299 women contracting HIV from uncircumcised men and 44 women contracting the virus from circumcised men. Circumcision also was found to reduce the rate of women's infection with trichomonas and bacterial vaginosis (Reuters, 2/8). The researchers said the reduced risk of transmission might be related to the structure of the foreskin, which can contain a concentration of the virus that is nine times the amount found in the outer layers of the penis (Nature.com, 2/8). The findings still need to be confirmed by other trials before any recommendations can be made, Thomas Quinn, a professor of infectious diseases at JHU who presented the study at the conference, said. Researchers also presented further evidence at the conference that circumcision reduces female-to-male HIV transmission (Reuters, 2/8). Circumcision previously has been shown to protect men from HIV. According to a study published in the November 2005 issue of PLoS Medicine, male circumcision might reduce the risk of female-to-male transmission by about 60% (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/26/05).
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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.