New Study Reveals Male Circumcision Reduces HIV Risk For Women. 14/8/2017


Men are urged to undergo medical circumcision as a measure to lowers the HIV risk for their partners.            

RESEARCH presented at the International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science in Paris has revealed that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) could lower HIV risk for women by 30 per cent.

Research has already established that women, whose male partners are circumcised, can benefit from a reduced risk of genital ulcers, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as herpes and syphilis, bacterial vaginosis and vaginalis, but there was little evidence of its protective benefits against HIV for women until the recent study.

Rachael Rawlinson, Chief Operating Officer for CareWorks – an HIV management organisation – described the research as a break-through discovery.

 “Almost a decade ago, a meta-analysis found no evidence to suggest that male circumcision directly reduced the risk of women acquiring HIV. It only pointed to lowering a man’s risk of contracting HIV by 60 per cent, which makes this new finding so significant. Now there’s no disputing that VMMC is important for HIV prevention for both men and women,” said Rawlinson.

Rawlinson said the study was conducted in KwaZulu-Natal where HIV prevalence is high, and it analysed data from the HIV Incidence Provincial Surveillance System – a longitudinal group of 4 766 women between the ages of 15 and 49. Researchers found that women whose most recent partner was circumcised had lower rates of HIV (42 per cent) than women whose partner was not circumcised (54 per cent).

“In a multivariable analysis, which attempted to control for the skewing effect of the differences between the two groups of women, such as age, women with circumcised partners had a 30 per cent lower likelihood of having HIV and were also less likely to have herpes,” said Rawlinson.

Rawlinson points out that another plus for female partners is that male circumcision plays an important role in curbing the incidence of cervical cancer, which is the most common female cancer in women aged 15 to 44 years in South Africa.

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