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January 9, 2010

Circumcision may protect against HIV due to changes in bacteria

"The reduction in HIV infection risk after circumcision may be the result of a decline in bacteria on the surface of the penis that assist the process of infection, according to findings from the research team that helped establish the evidence base for using male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy.

"If this is the case, and if the bacteria can be eliminated without removing the foreskin, such a procedure might provide an important non-surgical alternative to circumcision in settings where the procedure is culturally unacceptable or difficult to implement.

"The recent study, which appears in the January 2010 edition of PLoS ONE, analysed penile swabs taken from twelve participants in the Rakai, Uganda circumcision study, which enrolled almost 5,000 uncircumcised HIV-negative men and randomised half of them to be circumcised."

Read more in Aidsmap, January 8, 2010.