Male circumcision found safe, effective

Dec. 13, 2006 at 2:59 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- National Institutes of Health officials say there is now substantial proof male circumcision is effective in limiting transmission of the AIDS virus.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH, said it stopped two African clinical trials involving male circumcision because an independent monitoring board determined the treatment is so effective, it would be unethical to continue the experiment.

The study being conducted in Kisumu, Kenya, of 2,784 HIV-negative men showed a 53 percent reduction of HIV acquisition in circumcised men compared with uncircumcised men. A trial involving 4,996 HIV-negative men in Rakai, Uganda, showed HIV acquisition was reduced by 48 percent in circumcised males.

"We now have confirmation -- from large, carefully controlled, randomized clinical trials -- showing definitively that medically performed circumcision can significantly lower the risk of adult males contracting HIV through heterosexual intercourse," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID director. "While the initial benefit will be fewer HIV infections in men, ultimately adult male circumcision could lead to fewer infections in women in those areas of the world where HIV is spread primarily through heterosexual intercourse."

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