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Circumcision reduces HIV transmission in Africa

Recent research suggested that circumcision may reduce the rate of HIV transmission by 50% (foreskin cells are particularly vulnerable to infection with the virus). In response to this news, adult men in Uganda and Kenya have been undergoing the procedure in the hope of reducing their risk of HIV infection.

Some young boys in Kenya were actually expelled from school for not being circumcised. Their parents were asked to bring them back to school once the deed was done.

HIV rates have decreased in Uganda from 15% to 5% after aggressive public health initiatives raised awareness of the importance of safe sexual practices. This is an incredibly positive achievement.

One would hope, however, that circumcision in infancy would become the preferred target age for future procedures.

This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

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One Response to “Circumcision reduces HIV transmission in Africa”

  1. earthling says:

    It is so interesting to see how dramatically some of these preventive measures can reduce HIV transmission. There are also the studies which show that Cesarean section + an antiretroviral drug like azidothymidine (AZT) can significantly reduce HIV transmission from a mother to child. It seems to me that everyone’s money would be much better spent on these preventive measures than in focusing on treatments after infection. All the misery, pain and grief that could be prevented!

    Prevention is the future of medicine I think – and future generations will look back on all of our efforts to treat illness after it has already occurred as being positively medieval.

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