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Male circumcision may decrease risk of HPV infection and cervical cancer
Date:12/17/2008

Two new studies suggest that male circumcision may assist in the prevention of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, particularly infection with the high-risk subtypes associated with cervical, penile, and other cancers. Both studies are published in the January 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.

High-risk subtypes of HPV have been estimated to be present in 99.7 percent of cervical cancers worldwide. Evidence has shown that women with circumcised partners have a reduced risk for genital cancer. Two new studies sought to discover if HPV infection is more likely to occur in uncircumcised compared with circumcised men.

Bertran Auvert MD, PhD, and his team of researchers in France and colleagues from South Africa studied data from a trial conducted in Orange Farm, South Africa. Uncircumcised men aged 18-24 years were randomized into either an intervention group, to be circumcised, or a control group, to remain uncircumcised. During this study, urethral swab samples were collected and analyzed for presence of HPV among men followed up for 21 months. Information about sexual behavior was also collected.

Dr. Auvert and colleagues found that the percentage of high-risk HPV genotypes was lower in the circumcised group than in the control group. The most important implication, according to researchers, was that "reducing the frequency of HPV infection among men will reduce the risk of exposure in their female sexual partners."

A second study by Carrie Nielson PhD, at the Oregon Health & Science University and colleagues at the University of Arizona, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tested more than four hundred men aged 18-40 years in two U.S. cities during 2002-2005. Sixteen percent of participants were uncircumcised. Researchers tested for HPV in skin swabs of the anogenital area and semen samples in participants with n
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Contact: Steve Baragona
sbaragona@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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