Friday, March 09, 2007

Circumcision may not help in preventing transmission of HIV! Circumcising HIV-infected men to prevent them from spreading the virus to their female partners might have the opposite effect, according to preliminary results of a study in Uganda by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Scientists found that infected men who resumed sexual activity before their circumcision wounds healed were more likely to spread the virus than infected men who didn't have the surgery.

"This is a complicated situation ... but it seems that HIV-positive men initiating sex before wound healing is potentially dangerous for transmitting HIV," said Dr. Kevin M. De Cock, head of the World Health Organization's HIV/AIDS department.

The results of the research so far are not statistically significant, scientists noted. Also, they said the findings do nothing to discredit an earlier study that showed circumcising uninfected men reduced their chances of becoming infected by 50 percent to 60 percent.

Yet researchers said they must approach with caution the idea that circumcision could make sex between an infected man and his partner less risky. They spoke this week at a teleconference during an international meeting in Montreux, Switzerland.

Public health leaders from around the world are gathering there to consider the role that adult circumcision might play in the battle against AIDS, particularly in hard-hit southern Africa. The meeting is sponsored by the WHO and UNAIDS, a program of the United Nations.

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