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Circumcision could save millions from HIV infection, AIDS conference told.

SYDNEY (AFP) - - Male circumcision could prevent millions of HIV infections every year and play a major role in controlling the virus' spread in developing nations, a major AIDS conference was told Tuesday.

US researcher Richard Bailey called on health authorities to actively promote circumcision, saying the scientific evidence left no doubt that it could reduce HIV infection rates by up to 60 percent.

Bailey, from the University of Illinois, said three studies in Africa had all confirmed a long-standing belief about the effectiveness of circumcision in reducing the risk of HIV infection.

"The last two were actually stopped early because they showed such a high level of efficacy that it wouldn't be ethical to continue the trial and withhold circumcision from the control group," Bailey told reporters at the International AIDS Society conference in Sydney.

He said universal circumcision could avert two million new infections and 300,000 deaths in sub-Saharan Africa over 10 years.

Bailey said while health authorities would rush to implement a vaccine that was 60 percent effective, there was an element of squeamishness in some cultures about promoting male circumcision.

"It's been a really long haul because it's the penis after all, so it's not that easy to accept that kind of intervention," he said.

"Circumcision is not just simply a medical procedure, it's tied up in a complex web of cultural and religious practices and beliefs, so it's not easy for politicians and ministries of health to very quickly come out in favour of circumcision in countries where it's not traditionally practiced."

Bailey said leaders in developing nations needed to endorse circumcision because international health authorities would not impose it because they feared being seen as culturally insensitive.

"But the time to act is right now," he said. "Delaying the roll-out of circumcision could be causing more harm, not just because more people are getting infected with HIV than necessary but also people are going to unqualified practitioners."

The conference also heard that the practice, common in Africa, of women rinsing themselves with lemon juice after sex did not reduce the risk of HIV infection.

Nigerian researcher Atiene Sagay said a study of more than 300 Nigerian prostitutes found that women douched to avoid infection but it was totally ineffective.

"People suggested it could be a microbicide (but) we know much better than that now," Sagay said.

He said the practice was not an effective contraceptive measure either, as alkaline semen easily neutralised citric acid.

* I read this article on I reckon all guys should be circumcised. Just for hygiene reasons. looks good! Heh!


  1. you have yourself to think about too. you (and your family) come first in your life.

    everyone else should understand and respect your decision. your decision, afterall, was made in your best interest.

    glad you stood your ground this time and stuck to it.

  2. dude!

    it was never mentioned in the entire article why circumcision reduces risk of hiv.

    imma ponder over it the entire night tonight.

  3. i know i know...i'm pondering as well. but its all good i guess. i shall try to get an answer soon. in the meantime, try not to think about foreskin and dicks all night. heh!

  4. i think i've found the answer...

    The increased risk of infection is attributable to the foreskin of the penis, which provides a vulnerable portal of entry to HIV and other pathogens. The foreskin is susceptible to small scratches and tears during intercourse and contains a high density of Langerhans cells - primary target cells for HIV. An intact foreskin also exposes a man to other sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, herpes, and chancroid that are known cofactors for HIV infection.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that circumcision could lead to better protection against HIV through an increased use of condoms as well, says Halperin. Uncircumcised men seem more likely to find condoms uncomfortable and prone to breakage, although further research is needed to substantiate these claims.

  5. ahhhh. thanks for enlightening me. no, i didn't think about it all night, i fell asleep after the first fifteen minutes.

  6. heh! it got me thinking all night. i reckon i might be Bi...


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