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Male Circumcision Reduces HPV Transmission

Circumcision lowers the prevalence and incidence of HPV infection in female partners

FRIDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- In HIV-negative individuals, male circumcision appears to reduce the transmission of high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) infection to female partners, according to research published online Jan. 7 in The Lancet.

In two parallel but independent randomized controlled trials, Maria J. Wawer, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues randomly assigned HIV-uninfected men to undergo circumcision immediately (intervention) or after 24 months (control). HIV-uninfected female partners (648 of men from the intervention group, and 597 of men in the control group) were enrolled as well and provided interview information and vaginal swabs at baseline, 12 months, and 24 months.

Among 544 women in the intervention group and 488 in the control group at 24-month follow-up, the investigators found that 151 (27.8 percent) women in the intervention group and 189 (38.7 percent) in the control group had high-risk HPV infection. The investigators also found that the incidence of high-risk HPV infection in women during the trial was lower in the intervention group compared with the control group (20.7 versus 26.9 infections per 100 person-years).

"Our findings indicate that male circumcision should now be accepted as an efficacious intervention for reducing the prevalence and incidence of HPV infections in female partners. However, protection is only partial; the promotion of safe sex practices is also important," the authors write.

One author received research funding from Roche Molecular Diagnostics, the manufacturer of the HPV genotyping test used in this study.

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