A new study has found that circumcised men transmit HPV to women less frequently than uncircumcised men in a 2-year period (Source – Study). This was a statistically significant difference (it probably wasn’t caused by chance). Also, when circumcised, it lessens the risk of phimosis. Individuals who aren’t circumcised might experience pain in their foreskin; this might be a sign that he has phimosis. Check with a physician to discuss phimosis and phimosis cure to help you. The authors go on to suggest that circumcision should thus be used to prevent the spread of HPV, with a warning that it’s only a partial protection (a 23% difference between the groups). The study was published in The Lancet
After reviewing the study, although it mostly seems sound, I have one objection: couldn’t the statistical difference come from a change in sexual behavior and not the procedure? A circumcision requires healing time and may affect sexual response, which may lead to a change in sexual habits. The authors tracked number of sexual partners, but not the activities themselves. It strikes me that the activities should have been tracked, even by a self-reported estimate.
I also question the conclusion: wouldn’t it be better to vaccinate the population, instead of risking infection and sexual side effects? However, I am biased about this subject.
Effect of circumcision of HIV-negative men on transmission of human papillomavirus to HIV-negative women: a randomised trial in Rakai, Uganda (Link)
Prof Maria J Wawer MD,Dr Aaron AR Tobian MD,Godfrey Kigozi MBChB,Xiangrong Kong PhD,Patti E Gravitt PhD,David Serwadda MMed,Fred Nalugoda MHS,Frederick Makumbi PhD,Victor Ssempiija ScM,Nelson Sewankambo MMed,Stephen Watya MMed,Kevin P Eaton BS,Amy E. Oliver BA,Michael Z Chen MSc,Steven J Reynolds MD,Prof Thomas C Quinn MD,Prof Ronald H Gray MD
The Lancet – 7 January 2011