Saturday, February 24, 2007

The snip that guards

It's hard to see what justification there could be for any further delay in making male circumcision the norm:

The Kenyan and Ugandan trials replicate the landmark findings of the South African study, known as the South African Orange Farm study, which was the first randomised controlled trial to show a greater than 50 per cent protective benefit of male circumcision.

The Kenyan trial involved 2,784 young men from Kisimu who were randomly assigned to circumcision (1,391) and non-circumcision groups (1,393). The researchers followed their progress for 2 years and then compared the results from the two groups.

Their analysis suggested there was a 53 to 60 per cent reduction in risk of getting HIV in those men who were circumcised compared with those who were not. The second improved figure was obtained when they took out the men who did not complete the trial and the men who were already HIV positive at the start.

The Ugandan trial involved 4,996 uncircumcised, HIV-negative men aged from 15 to 49 years living in Rakai, who were also randomly assigned to circumcision (2,474) and non-circumcision (2,522) groups. The risk reduction results were very similar to the Kenyan trial.

Both trials, which were sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health, were stopped early because the results were so definitive.

Scientists suggest that circumcision is effective in preventing the spread of HIV because cells inside the foreskin are an ideal breeding ground for the virus and allow it be passed on in sexual intercourse.
But some people still object. Perhaps we need some kind of foreskin Nuremberg

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