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

o HPV symptoms (such as warts or lesions).

Investigators found that circumcised men were about half as likely to have HPV as uncircumcised men, after adjustment for other differences in the two groups. These results demonstrated that lack of circumcision is associated with cervical cancer because of the increased risk of HPV infection. Nielson suggested that it may be useful to consider circumcising newborn boys in order to decrease the risk of HPV infection for them and their future partners. "Parents are not currently advised of this risk," she said. "These studies contribute to the evidence that might help to inform that decision."

In an accompanying editorial, Ronald H. Gray, MD, of Johns Hopkins University, said that the evidence was persuasive but not entirely consistent and that it may be premature to promote circumcision as a way to prevent HPV infection in men and to protect female sex partners from infection. He advised that policy decisions should await results from two ongoing trials of male circumcision. Alternatively, Gray noted that consistent evidence has suggested that male circumcision reduces the frequency of HIV infection in men. He also pointed out that because of the lack of conclusive data relating circumcision and prevention of HPV, Medicaid does not cover circumcision costs, which may account for a decline in neonatal circumcisions in the United States.

According to Dr. Nielson, the findings they reported present compelling arguments to promote male circumcision in developing countries where circumcision is not widely used and the HIV epidemic is severe. Additionally, she said, it is "the first clear demonstration of the indirect but substantial beneficial effect of male circumcision for women." The authors of both studies and the editorialist agreed that more studies will be needed to confirm the efficacy of male circumcision in HPV prevention.

Fast Facts:

  1. The high-risk subtypes of HPV
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Contact: Steve Baragona
sbaragona@idsociety.org
703-299-0412
Infectious Diseases Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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