Advertisement covers The 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2012)


South Africa: Circumcision Tied to Drop in Herpes, Too

March 12, 2012

A study of South African men ages 15-49 found that circumcision was associated with a significant reduction in herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), according to data presented in Seattle at the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections. Several randomized controlled trials previously established that male circumcision reduces the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission by up to 60 percent.

In the new study, researchers surveyed males in Orange Farm, South Africa, one of the sites of major circumcision trials conducted in recent years. Its residents were randomly sampled in 2007 before the circumcision rollout and again after the rollout in 2010-11. Participants were interviewed, physically examined to confirm circumcision status, and had their blood tested for HSV-2.

HSV-2 prevalence was 30.8 percent among uncircumcised men compared with 17.1 percent among those circumcised (P<0.001), said Dr. Bertran Auvert, a public health professor at the University of Versailles. When variables were analyzed, circumcision led to a 27 percent reduction in the risk of acquiring HSV-2 compared with uncircumcised men, he said.

As the initial HIV trial results were publicized, the popularity of male circumcision grew. Three years after the rollout, medical circumcision prevalence among surveyed males ages 15-49 had increased to 49.4 percent, up from 15.6 percent earlier.

"This study shows that the rollout of male circumcision can have a [significant] short-term impact on the spread of HSV-2 among men," said Auvert. "This is an intervention that can be done one time and can provide years of benefits that are sustained."

Back to other news for March 2012

Adapted from:
MedPage Today
03.06.2012; Ed Susman

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.

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