Men who are circumcised are less likely to contract HIV than uncircumcised men, says a new study.
The research presented recently at the International AIDS Conference at Toronto said circumcised heterosexual men are at least 60 percent less likely to contract HIV than their uncircumcised counterparts, reported the online edition of health magazine WebMD.
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis and it is a practice dating back to biblical times.
In yet another study, Yale University researchers projected that increasing circumcision rates by just 10-20 percent could ward off 32,000-52,000 infections in Soweto, South Africa, alone over the next 20 years.
A recent study of tea plantation residents in rural Kenya also showed that circumcised men were about two-thirds less likely to contract HIV over a two-year period than uncircumcised men.
Kevin De Cock, managing director of the World Health Organisation's HIV/AIDS programme, said that if the findings hold up, the global agency will issue guidelines backing the procedure for HIV prevention.
"Male circumcision could avert as many as two million new infections over 10 years in sub-Saharan Africa alone," he said.
Other new research suggests circumcision would also be cost-effective.
However, De Cock said his agency would await the results of two more large studies, expected to be completed next year in Kenya and Uganda, before taking any concrete decisions.
(Source - IANS)