Thursday, December 14, 2006

Circumcision Study Cut Short

In the NY Times this morning: Circumcision appears to reduce a man’s risk of contracting AIDS from heterosexual sex by half, United States government health officials said yesterday, and the directors of the two largest funds for fighting the disease said they would consider paying for circumcisions in high-risk countries.
The announcement was made by officials of the National Institutes of Health as they halted two clinical trials, in Kenya and Uganda, on the ground that not offering circumcision to all the men taking part would be unethical. The success of the trials confirmed a study done last year in South Africa.
AIDS experts immediately hailed the finding...Uncircumcised men are thought to be more susceptible because the underside of the foreskin is rich in Langerhans cells, sentinel cells of the immune system, which attach easily to the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. The foreskin also often suffers small tears during intercourse. But experts also cautioned that circumcision is no cure-all. It only lessens the chances that a man will catch the virus; it is expensive compared to condoms, abstinence or other methods; and the surgery has serious risks if performed by folk healers using dirty blades, as often happens in rural Africa. To read on, click here.


Joshua Smith said...

I actually first heard about this story on, which is a great social website dedicated to people who are concerned with health and medical issues.

It surprised me a lot and glad I had this procedure done when I was a baby.

Bint Alshamsa said...

This is a very significant finding and definitely sways me in favor of circumcision if I were to ever have a son.