Circumcision prevents AIDS
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In six cases out of ten, the method has proven effective
Circumcision could reduce men's risk of contracting HIV with women by 65% during sexual intercourse, which could prevent the spread of the epidemic, data from a French study in South Africa show at a global AIDS conference.
Representatives of the UN Agency for AIDS and the World Health Organization, however, expressed reservations about these results and stressed that further research is needed to demonstrate how effective this method is in preventing HIV-AIDS.
Research on 3,000 men
The study was conducted in a region of South Africa, for a period of three years, and within it participated 3,000 men between the ages of 18 and 24, sexually active. Only half of them had been circumcised by professional medical means and under strict hygiene conditions, but all had received counseling on HIV infection prevention.
After 21 months, it was discovered that 51 members of the uncircumcised group had contacted HIV, while only 18 of the circumcised had been infected. "Circumcision prevented HIV infection in six to seven cases out of ten," said Bertrand Auvert, the study coordinator.
Three more studies are needed
At the conference in Rio de Janeiro, the researchers announced that at least three more studies will be conducted to confirm the effectiveness of the circumcision. "Although the results obtained so far are promising, they must be corroborated with other studies," said Dr. Charles Gilks, program director at the World Health Organization.
The classic means of prevention could be abandoned
A new study on circumcision and the possible link between it and the reduction of the risk of contacting the HIV virus is being conducted in Uganda, and the results will be released in 2007.
Dr. Gilks warned that there is a danger that many men will begin to rely on circumcision and forget about HIV prevention. He also expressed concern about how men will be circumcised and the complications that may arise if they do not call on professionals, but on traditional healers.
UNAIDS Councilor Catherine Hankins also warned that it is too early to encourage circumcision as a means of preventing HIV.
Source: The event of the day