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