Circumcision significantly reduces the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men, says a new U.S. study.
The findings complement those of recently reported clinical trials in Africa, where interventional use of adult male circumcision similarly reduced the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men.
The study has been published in the January 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Lee Warner, PhD, MPH, and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine studied the records of more than 26,000 African American men who had had HIV testing during visits to two Baltimore, Maryland, STD clinics from 1993 to 2000.
The subjects selected for the study said that they did not inject drugs and had sex only with women. Their visits to the clinics were classified as involving known HIV exposure if there had been a recent notification of such exposure by a sex partner or by a clinic's disease intervention specialists; clinic visits for other reasons were classified as involving unknown HIV exposure.
By these criteria, the investigators found 394 visits with known exposure and 40,177 visits with unknown exposure. In visits by men with known HIV exposure, being circumcised was associated with a 51 percent reduction in HIV prevalence (10.2 percent of circumcised men vs. 22.0 percent of uncircumcised men).
In contrast, HIV prevalence did not significantly differ in circumcised compared to uncircumcised men with unknown HIV exposure (2.5 percent vs 3.3 percent).