Why Circumcise? Male Circumcision Potentially Reduces the Risk of HIV

In 2007, an extensive study was conducted on male circumcision and HIV prevention. The study was done by the World Health Organization and UNAIDS (The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS) in order to inform policy and procedures in countries around the globe. In 2006, an estimated 39.5 million people were living with AIDS, and over 4 million people were diagnosed with AIDS that year. Because of the high number of individuals with AIDS, the WHO and UNAIDS have greatly prioritized prevention and have researched new preventative measures. Male circumcision is one of those preventative methods.

Some studies have indicated that the level of HIV infection is lower in circumcised men than in their uncircumcised counterparts. Studies conducted in various countries found there to be up to a 60% reduction in the risk of acquiring HIV among men who were circumcised. Because of the significant findings of these studies, the WHO and UNAIDS outlined recommendations regarding public health issues related to HIV and circumcision.

The research suggests that male circumcision is effective in reducing the sexual transmission of AIDS from women to men. The WHO and UNAIDS concluded that, “Male circumcision should now be recognized as an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention. Promoting male circumcision should be recognized as an additional, important strategy for the prevention of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men.” In other words, male circumcision can be viewed as an added level of protection against HIV along with other scientifically proven methods.

It is, however, important to note that male circumcision does not guarantee full immunity from the HIV virus. Circumcised men can still contract the virus. Furthermore, HIV-positive men can pass the disease to their sexual partners even once circumcised. Though circumcision can reduce the chances of becoming infected with HIV, it should not replace other interventions. For more information on safe practices and how to reduce the risk of HIV click here.

All adult circumcisions should be performed by a medical professional in a clinical setting. The Center for Circumcision is available for free phone consultations and to answer any and all questions about circumcision.

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