Uncircumcised Indians beware! - Times of India
- Uncircumcised Indians beware!
REUTERS[ FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2003 11:45:31 AM ]
LOS ANGELES: Uncircumcised men are eight times as
likely to become infected with HIV than circumcised
men, according to a study of nearly 2,300 men in India
released on Thursday.
A researcher at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine suggested that the inner surface of
the foreskin does not have the same protective layer
as the outside, and is potentially more vulnerable to
Male circumcision is common in North America and
elsewhere for religious and cultural reasons and to
help prevent urinary tract infections and penile
The procedure involves removal of the foreskin, which
covers the tip of the penis, and is typically done
shortly after birth.
In the United States, some two-thirds of male infants
are circumcised annually. Worldwide, the rates vary
widely, depending on culture and religion. In many
countries, including India, circumcision is uncommon.
"It's important that we offer measures to help curb
the spread of AIDS, particularly in developing
countries, where it continues to grow at an alarming
rate," Dr Steven Reynolds, post-doctoral fellow in the
division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins and a
study investigator said in a statement.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has said it no
longer recommends routine circumcision because -
despite some medical benefit - there can be
Johns Hopkins also studied the risk of other sexually
transmitted diseases among circumcised and
uncircumcised men. Although the incidence of diseases
like syphilis, gonorrhea and genital herpes was
slightly higher among uncircumcised men, the
difference was not statistically significant.
The research was part of a larger study investigating
risk factors for HIV infection based on men attending
one of three sexually transmitted disease clinics in
Pune, India between 1993 and 2000.
Demographics, sexual risk behaviors - including having
sex with a prostitute - and condom use were similar
between both groups, Reynolds said.
He added that there are methods uncircumcised men may
be able to use to protect themselves against HIV,
including condoms and, in the future, a potential
topical microbicide product that might be applied to
the foreskin before sex.
"Circumcision as a potential prevention strategy
requires confirmation by randomised clinical trials,"
Reynolds said. There currently are clinical trials
underway in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.
Results of the study were presented at a San Diego
meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
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