There has long been a debate over whether or not circumcision was medically necessary or not. Most people find circumcision to be an elective surgery that has no medical benefits. But recent finding from studies have found that circumcision may in deed have a medical benefit. The benefit being that circumcision can reduce a man’s chances of catching HIV by up to 60 percent.
The findings had first been announced in December, after initial results from two major trials. The trials in Kenya and Uganda showed promising links between circumcision and HIV transmission. The National Institutes of Health, which was paying for them, because it was apparent that circumcision did in fact reduce a man’s risk.
According to federal health officials, it would have been unethical to continue without offering circumcision to all 8,000 men in the trials.
Friday in The Lancet the full data of the trails was published. The trials had been carried out by the National Institutes of Health.
The study conducted in Kenya compared 1,391 men who were circumcised to 1,393 men who were not circumcised. The study in Uganda compared 2,474 men who were circumcised to 2,522 men who were not circumcised. Scientists then tracked the men for two years and the results showed that those who were circumcised were 51-60 percent less likely to contract HIV.
Dr. Kevin de Cook had this to say, ” This is an extraordinary development. Circumcision it the most potent intervention in HIV prevention that has been described.”
Circumcision being a way to reduce HIV transmission lies in the fact that the cells in the foreskin of the penis are especially vulnerable to the virus. Although experts warn that solid evidence is not justification for mass circumcisions.
Dr Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had this to say, ” Look, this is a one-time permanent intervention that’s safe when done under the appropriate medical conditions. If we had an AIDS vaccine that was performing as well as this, it would be the talk of the town.”
President Bush’s $15 billion AIDS initiative and the World Health Organization were considering paying for circumcisions in high-risk countries, but must work out what training and equipment they would require circumcisers to have, according to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.
Last year the journal AIDS and Behavior published a review of 13 surveys in different African communities that found that 29 percent to 87 percent of uncircumcised men would be willing to be circumcised if it protected them against AIDS.
It has already been proven that a woman’s risk of cervical cancer is reduced if her sexual partner is circumcised. Now circumcision has gained a new medical benefit. With these new studies being brought to light the debate over circumcision may be brought to an end, with circumcision winning out.
Sources: Associated Press, The New York Times