Male circumcision, HIV and sexually transmitted infections: A review

Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, Medical Research Council Tropical Epidemiology Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London.
British journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing) 05/2010; 19(10):629-34. DOI: 10.12968/bjon.2010.19.10.48201
Source: PubMed


Three randomized controlled trials in sub-Saharan Africa have shown that circumcision reduces the risk of acquiring HIV infection in men by approximately 60%. In this paper, we review the evidence that male circumcision protects against infection with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in men and their female partners. Data from the clinical trials indicate that circumcision may be protective against genital ulcer disease, Herpes simplex type 2, Trichomonas vaginalis and human papillomavirus infection in men. No evidence exists of a protective effect against Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrhea. There is weak evidence that circumcision has a direct protective effect on HIV infection in women, although there is likely to be an indirect benefit, since HIV prevalence is likely to be lower in circumcised male partners. Although there is little evidence from the trials of serious adverse events from the procedure and of behavioural risk compensation among circumcised men, essential operational research is being conducted to evaluate these key issues outside the trial setting as circumcision services are expanded. Following the publication of the clinical trial results in early 2007, the World Health Organization/UNAIDS has advised that promotion of male circumcision should be included as an additional HIV strategy for the prevention of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men in areas of high HIV prevalence. As circumcision services are expanded in settings where resources are limited, non-physician providers including nurses will play an important role in the provision of services.

4 Reads
  • Source
    • "However, there is no biomedical evidence of any reduced risk of these infections. Male circumcision has been shown to reduce the risk of GUD, HSV-2, trichomonas vaginalis and HR–HPV in men and HR–HPV, bacterial vaginosis, trichomonas vaginalis and GUD in women [5,40]. While the reduction of these STIs is significant and should be promoted, it is also important that women understand that circumcision does not affect the risk of all STIs. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: While male circumcision reduces the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission and certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), there is little evidence that circumcision provides women with direct protection against HIV. This study used qualitative methods to assess women's perceptions of male circumcision in Iringa, Tanzania. Women in this study had strong preferences for circumcised men because of the low risk perception of HIV with circumcised men, social norms favoring circumcised men, and perceived increased sexual desirability of circumcised men. The health benefits of male circumcision were generally overstated; many respondents falsely believed that women are also directly protected against HIV and that the risk of all STIs is greatly reduced or eliminated in circumcised men. Efforts to engage women about the risks and limitations of male circumcision, in addition to the benefits, should be expanded so that women can accurately assess their risk of HIV or STIs during sexual intercourse with circumcised men.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · PLoS ONE
  • Source
    • "articles and systematic reviews of the association between male circumcision and individual types of STIs have been published [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21], many of these need updating, while other have methodological shortcomings. This is also the first systematic review to explore the overall risk of contracting any STI. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The claim that circumcision reduces the risk of sexually transmitted infections has been repeated so frequently that many believe it is true. A systematic review and meta-analyses were performed on studies of genital discharge syndrome versus genital ulcerative disease, genital discharge syndrome, nonspecific urethritis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital ulcerative disease, chancroid, syphilis, herpes simplex virus, human papillomavirus, and contracting a sexually transmitted infection of any type. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, and human papillomavirus are not significantly impacted by circumcision. Syphilis showed mixed results with studies of prevalence suggesting intact men were at great risk and studies of incidence suggesting the opposite. Intact men appear to be of greater risk for genital ulcerative disease while at lower risk for genital discharge syndrome, nonspecific urethritis, genital warts, and the overall risk of any sexually transmitted infection. In studies of general populations, there is no clear or consistent positive impact of circumcision on the risk of individual sexually transmitted infections. Consequently, the prevention of sexually transmitted infections cannot rationally be interpreted as a benefit of circumcision, and any policy of circumcision for the general population to prevent sexually transmitted infections is not supported by the evidence in the medical literature.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Circumcision is one of the oldest and the most controversial surgical procedures performed worldwide and is almost universal among Muslim and Jewish men. Most medical institutions in various countries agree that although there may be health benefits, there is no medical justification for routine circumcision in neonates or children. It should be performed only for established medical reasons and should not be universally recommended. There are modern techniques that provide safer, simpler, quicker, and cheaper alternatives to the traditional means of circumcision with good functional and cosmetic results. Female genital mutilation (FGM) includes procedure that alters or injures female genital organs for nonmedical reasons. Various degrees of FGM are prevalent, the most mutilating one being infibulation. There are numerous gynecologic and obstetrical complications with infibulation. FGM also plays a significant role in facilitating the transmission of HIV infection through numerous mechanisms. Health care providers have an important role to play in the eradication of this practice. Increased professional and public awareness about such a practice is required.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2010 · Indian Journal of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS
Show more