Men who have been circumcised have a significantly reduced risk of contracting genital herpes or papillomavirus infections, according to data published Wednesday.
The results confirm the benefits of medically supervised male circumcision that were previously observed in the case of the AIDS virus.
AdvertisementTwo clinical trials carried out in Uganda with 3,393 heterosexual men aged 15 to 49 both showed a 35 percent drop in the rate of papillomavirus infections, which are responsible for 70 percent of cases of uterine cancer.
With herpes, the data showed a 28 percent drop in the rate of infection among men who had been circumcised, according to the report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
But circumcision had no effect on the incidence of syphilis, the authors of the study said.
"These new data should prompt a major reassessment of the role of male circumcision not only in HIV prevention but also in the prevention of other sexually transmitted infections," Matthew Golden and Judith Wasserheit wrote in an accompanying editorial.
The study was conducted by scientists at the Rakai Health Sciences Program in Uganda in collaboration with researchers from Johns Hopkins, Makerere University in Uganda, and the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID).
"The cumulative scientific evidence supporting the public health value of medically supervised male circumcision is now overwhelming," said Thomas Quinn, a co-author of the study.
"This new research confirms the substantial health benefits of male circumcision, including reduced acquisition of HIV, genital herpes, HPV and genital ulcer disease," he said.
Previous clinical trials funded by NIAID found that adult male circumcision reduced the risk of HIV infection by more than 50 percent among heterosexuals.