28 April 2009

Circumcision benefits confirmed

Circumcision does not decrease sexual pleasure or function, but it does help reduce the risk of contracting the Aids virus and suffering a penile injury, new studies confirm.

Circumcision does not decrease a man's sexual pleasure or function, but it does help reduce his risk of contracting the Aids virus and suffering a penile injury, new studies confirm. Austrian researchers analysing biopsies from 20 circumcised and uncircumcised men found that the inner foreskin of the penis contains a higher concentration of Langerhans cells - a prime target of the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV - than any other part of the male foreskin. Because this would make the inner foreskin more susceptible to HIV, removing it through circumcision would help lower a man's risk of contracting HIV, they concluded. In the second study, a two-year study of nearly 3,000 Kenyan men found that those who were recently circumcised were less likely to suffer coital injuries, such as scratches, cuts, scrapes or soreness, than those who had their foreskin intact. Sexual function was determined to be similar between the circumcised and uncircumcised groups, according to the research team, which was from the United States, Canada and Africa. The studies are to be presented this week in Chicago at the annual scientific meeting of the American Urological Association. "These are important reports which support the concepts that circumcision does not interfere with sexual function, and that circumcision is an important element of HIV prevention in sub-Saharan Africa," association spokesman Dr Ira D. Sharlip said in a news release issued by the organization. "At the same time, it should be emphasised that circumcision must be combined with other techniques of HIV prevention, such as safe sex and voluntary testing," he said. "It is not sufficient to rely on circumcision alone to prevent HIV transmission." – (HealthDayNews, April 2009) Read more:
HIV/Aids Centre
HIV circumcision policy by June

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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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