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Circumcision May Lift HIV Risk for Women

ho have sex before they had properly healed.

However, they said the numbers so far were too small to be statistically significant, and left open the possibility that the higher rates were due to chance; both groups of men and women were given repeated HIV prevention education and free condoms.

Experts said the study showed the importance of finding ways to protect women in the search for ways to fight AIDS.

"We need to err on the side of caution to protect women in any future male circumcision program," said Dr. Maria Wawer, the study's lead investigator, a researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

More than 60 percent of AIDS patients in sub-Saharan Africa are women. The social and economic inequalities between men and women are thought to be responsible for the elevated rates of infection in women, with many women trapped in relationships with unfaithful men.

The preliminary results do not call into question the utility of circumcision as a way to prevent AIDS in Africa.

But "while male circumcision has extraordinary potential to prevent HIV infection, these new findings remind us that we must proceed with thought and care in developing strategies to expand male circumcision in Africa," said Dr. Kevin De Cock, director of WHO's AIDS department. "Circumcision is an additional prevention strategy rather than a replacement for anything else."

Source-Bio-Bio Technology
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