Circumcision may protect gay men from the sexually transmitted infection syphilis, but a new study has found that the snip does not offer any protection from other sexually transmitted infections like HIV, gonorrhoea, chlamydia or genital warts.
For the study, researchers at the University of New South Wales inspected 1,427 homosexual men, two-thirds of whom had been circumcised, over three years with regular testing for infections.
Their analysis showed that there was no association between infection and circumcision status for any disease excluding syphilis.
Speaking at the Australasian Sexual Health Conference on the Gold Coast on Oct 11, Professor Andrew Grulich, from the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, said that the reasons for this were still ambiguous.
However he said that one theory for the phenomenon could be that the foreskin is particularly susceptible to this virus.
"We also believe that quite a bit of syphilis, up to a third, is being transmitted through oral sex in Australia at the moment. If the transmission of the organism is from the mouth then this is something that is different from other infections," The Age quoted Prof Grulich, as saying.
The researched also showed that syphilis numbers ascended by a third between 2004 and 2006, when 815 new infections were reported.
But despite the heave, the results were not strong enough to advocate circumcision for those at risk, the researchers said.
"Any intervention like circumcision could only be partially effective so on the basis of this research I wouldn't be out there advocating it," Prof Grulich said.
"We wouldn't want people who are circumcised wrongly thinking that they're safe from it," he added.