Circumcision Not ‘Beneficial’ In Protecting Men Who Have Sex With Men From HIV, Study Finds
Circumcision "doesn't help protect gay men" from HIV, according to a study presented by CDC researchers at the agency's 2009 HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta, the Associated Press reports. For the study, researchers looked at nearly 4,900 men who had sex with HIV-positive men, "and found the infection rate, about 3.5 percent, was approximately the same whether the men were circumcised or not," the AP reports. Peter Kilmarx, chief of the epidemiology branch in the CDC's HIV division, concluded that circumcision "is not considered beneficial" in preventing the spread of HIV among men who have sex with men. "However, the CDC is still considering recommending it for other groups, including baby boys and high-risk heterosexual men," the article states. "The research ... is expected to influence the government's first guidance on circumcision" (Stobbe, 8/25).
A Boston Globe editorial also discussed circumcision and HIV. The editorial states, "There is no evidence that circumcision protects against male-to-male transmission of the virus, or from men to women. Still, a technique that reduces the prevalence of the disease will ultimately benefit all groups." In addition, "While a majority of U.S. parents already circumcise their babies, rates are lower among two groups that suffer disproportionately from HIV/AIDS: African-Americans and Hispanics." The Globe concludes, "No one should be forced to circumcise a son. But where the health benefits are clear, the CDC should be equally clear in its recommendations" (8/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.