Circumcision Might Reduce Risk of HIV Transmission From Woman to Man by About 70%, Study Says

Male circumcision can reduce by about 70% the risk of men contracting HIV through sexual intercourse with women, according to a study conducted by French and South African researchers, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lead researcher Bertran Auvert, a professor of public health in Paris, is scheduled to present the findings at the 3rd International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, later this month. The procedure could become an effective way to help curb the spread of HIV/AIDS. Although men would benefit most from the effect, women would benefit indirectly because circumcision would reduce the chances of their partners being HIV-positive. The randomized, controlled clinical trial enrolled more than 3,000 HIV-negative, uncircumcised men ages 18 to 24 living in a South African township. Half of the men were randomly assigned to be circumcised and the other half served as a control group, remaining uncircumcised. Researchers planned to study the men for 21 months, but after one year the data showed that circumcision was effective in reducing the risk of HIV infection. For every 10 uncircumcised men who contracted HIV, about three circumcised men contracted the virus, according to two unnamed people familiar with the research and a draft of the study. The data and safety monitoring board overseeing the research deemed the findings so significant that it stopped the trial nine months early in order to allow the control group to undergo circumcision (Schoofs et al., Wall Street Journal, 7/5).

In partnership with IAS, will serve as the official webcaster of the 3rd IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment, providing daily online conference coverage. Webcasts of select sessions and newsmaker interviews will be available online.

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