According to Anna R. Giuliano, Ph.D., program leader in cancer epidemiology at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., and colleagues in the Netherlands, earlier circumcision of males in South Africa may be a positive step in slowing the spread of both HIV and the human papillomavirus (HPV).
“Countries with high incidences of HIV also have high incidences of cancer-related HPV,” said Giuliano. “This is especially true in South Africa.”
Commenting on a study related to circumcision and HIV and HPV
transmission, Giuliano and her colleagues note that studies have shown
that circumcision of HIV-infected men does not reduce HPV transmission
to their female partners. Many factors may account for this lack of
efficacy. However, Giuliano and colleagues suggest that the high
prevalence of HPV among the HIV-infected men (73 percent in the
intervention group and 69 percent in the control group) and the high
prevalence of HIV among the female partners of greater than 60 percent,
relates to the lack of efficacy of male circumcision. In that study, it
was pointed out that the high and sustained prevalence of HPV among the
HIV-infected individuals is “likely to overwhelm any preventative effect
“Male circumcision is important for reduction of not only HIV infection
but also HPV infection in HIV-negative men and their female partners,”
said Giuliano. “However, its efficacy seems limited to HIV-negative men.
These results suggest the need for early circumcision to achieve
maximum effectiveness in populations with a high incidence of HIV and
For maximum reductions in HIV and HPV infections and related diseases in
women, such as cervical cancer, the researchers recommend that both
circumcision and HPV vaccination of the male population should be
delivered prior to sexual debut.
This article was first published at www.newswise.com
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