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Study: Circumcision Prevents STDs

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A new study has found circumcision not only protects against HIV in heterosexual men, but it also helps prevent two other sexually transmitted infections.

nurse looking in man's underwear

According to the findings by researchers at the University of Washington and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, circumcised males reduced their risk of infection with HPV, or human papillomavirus, by 35% and herpes by 28%. However, researchers found circumcision had no effect on the transmission of syphilis. "Evidence now strongly suggests that circumcision offers an important prevention opportunity and should be widely available," said study authors Dr. Matthew Golden and Dr. Judith Wasserheit.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only about 30% of men worldwide are circumcised, while roughly 79% of American men are circumcised.

An international team of researchers who conducted the study said circumcision should be an accepted method to reduce sexually transmitted infections among heterosexuals. "It must be emphasized that protection was only partial, and it is critical to promote the practice of safe sex," they wrote. HPV can cause cervical cancer and genital warts. Herpes greatly increases the chances of infection with HIV.

The American Academy of Pediatrics previously said there was not enough evidence to recommend routine circumcision of infants. The doctor's group is reviewing its position based on the recent study.

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8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous March 26, 2009, 10:25 AM

Wow I wouldn’t rush out to buy condoms that only increased my chances 28%-35% for preventing STDs

Brooke March 26, 2009, 12:53 PM

if that was the best available, you would.

Rachel March 26, 2009, 8:28 PM

But that’s not the best available…that’s the point Brooke. Just because a man is circumcised doesn’t mean he no longer needs to protect himself with condoms. Not to mention, this is just ONE study. There have been many other studies that show there is no SIGNIFICANT preventions of any diseases just because a man is circumcised. It is basically a religious thing, or a cosmetic thing. And because of that, it is neither recommended nor condemned.

Amber March 27, 2009, 8:26 PM

Rachel you are exactly right! Did you also know that 1 in 500 have some sort of major complication? That’s why we decided not to have my son circumcised.

Pam T March 29, 2009, 1:43 PM

Whats with that picture?

gregory s April 8, 2009, 1:40 AM

Male talking here…I was circumcised as an infant and Here’s the honest part…I’ve had, at one point or another, every std in the book…so that’s some crappy science. Clearly circumcision didn’t help. If you want to prevent std’s use a condom. For the record (mom’s to be) we boys don’t like this being done to us without asking. I know my mother loved me and wanted the best for me, I wish she would have considered my wishes in this decision. it’s has PLAGUED me for 35 years.

Anonymous April 9, 2009, 9:52 PM

Gregory, that is exactly why we didn’t get my son circumcised. If he comes to us later in life and says he wants it done, we’ll pay for it. But I would never alter my daughters body at birth, why would I do it to my son? Especially when there really is no medical reason for it.

leah May 26, 2009, 12:24 PM

Well.. we did it for our son.. for the simple reason so he wouldn’t look different from daddy. My husband thought it would be easier for him in the long run.
Plus when I was a teen my highschool sweetie was not circumcised.. He haunted by it due to comments made in the boys locker room.
Its a personal choice for everyone thats for sure.

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