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Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2008 May;10(3):243-51.

Update on male circumcision: prevention success and challenges ahead.

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  • 1Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1830 East Monument Street, Room #401, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


This article reviews the findings of three trials of male circumcision for HIV prevention, with emphasis on the public health impact, cultural and safety concerns, implications for women, and the challenges of roll out. Three randomized trials in Africa demonstrated that adult male circumcision reduces HIV acquisition by 50% to 60%. As circumcision provides only partial protection, higher risk behaviors could nullify circumcision's effect. Additionally, circumcision among HIV-infected men does not directly reduce male-to-female HIV transmission among discordant couples, according to the results of a recent Ugandan study. The roll-out or full-scale implementation requires committed expansion into existing HIV prevention programs. Efforts should include attention to safety, implications for women, and risk compensation. Rapid, careful establishment of circumcision services is essential to optimize HIV prevention in countries with the highest prevalence.

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