Circumcision :: Male circumcision in Africa with high HIV prevalence

Routine male circumcision “must be considered” in areas of Africa with high HIV prevalence because the procedure is a “source of hope that could eventually save many lives,” columnist Michael Gerson writes in a Washington Post opinion piece.

Male circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis. Medical circumcisions are performed in the hospital by a pediatrician for an infant or child. For an adult, a general surgeon or urologist may perform a circumcision.

According to final data from two NIH-funded studies – conducted in Uganda and Kenya and published in the Feb. 23 issue of the journal Lancet – routine male circumcision could reduce a man’s risk of HIV infection through heterosexual sex by 65%. In response to the findings, the World Health Organization and UNAIDS in March recommended the procedure as a way to help reduce the spread of HIV.

According to Gerson, the “main problem” is that circumcision is “partially protective” against HIV, which might give some men a “false sense of invulnerability.”


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