Review Discusses Anti-HIV Benefits of Male Circumcision

Three African trials stopped early due to benefits; circumcision could prevent millions of infections

MONDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Findings from three randomized trials in Africa lend support to the use of adult male circumcision to reduce the incidence of HIV, according to a review published in the January issue of The Journal of Urology.

Sean M. Doyle, M.D., of the University of California in Berkeley, and colleagues discuss the results of trials conducted in South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda beginning in 2002, which included more than 10,000 teenage boys and men who were randomized to delayed circumcision as controls or immediate circumcision.

The researchers note that all trials were stopped early due to obvious evidence that circumcision provided protection from HIV acquisition; circumcision was associated with a 54-percent relative risk reduction of acquiring HIV at two years. Other research indicates that providing circumcision to all uncircumcised sub-Saharan adult men would prevent up to eight million HIV infections in the next decade, the authors write.

"With a protective effect of approximately 60 percent, adult male circumcision is a highly effective HIV prevention strategy. A majority of the international health care community, including the World Health Organization and Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, have adopted adult male circumcision as an effective tool for HIV prevention. Delivery of safe circumcision services where HIV prevalence is high and male circumcision prevalence is low could save millions of lives and billions of dollars during the next 20 years," Doyle and colleagues conclude.

One co-author reported several financial relationships with pharmaceutical and medical companies, including AstraZeneca.

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