Study: Circumcision Does Not Protect Black, Latino Gays From HIV

Despite the positive results obtained from circumcision studies of heterosexual men in Africa, findings of a study published in the December 15 issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes show there is no evidence that being circumcised protects against HIV infection among U.S. black or Latino men who have sex with men (MSM), even among those who said they also had sex with women and/or practiced insertive intercourse only, AIDSmap.com reports.

BY Matthew Van Atta

January 04 2008 12:00 AM ET

Despite the
positive results obtained from circumcision studies of
heterosexual men in Africa, findings of a study published in
the December 15 issue of the Journal of Acquired
Immune Deficiency Syndromes
show there is no
evidence that being circumcised protects against HIV
infection among U.S. black or Latino men who have sex
with men (MSM), even among those who said they also had sex
with women and/or practiced insertive intercourse
only, AIDSmap.com reports. The results of the study
were also presented at the National HIV Prevention
Conference, which was held in Atlanta December 2–5.

The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention conducted its "Brothers
y Hermanos" study between May 2005 and April 2006,
recruiting 2,235 black and Latino MSM in New York City,
Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Participants were
asked, "Is your penis circumcised or cut?" The black
participants were more than twice as likely to be
circumcised as the Latinos: 74% versus 33%. Circumcised
black MSM were more likely to be older, have a higher
level of education, have a higher income, and identify
as gay than were uncircumcised black MSM. There were
fewer differences between circumcised and uncircumcised
Latino MSM.

Investigators
analyzed all data pertaining to demographics and sexual
risks and determined that there was no statistically
significant association between circumcision and HIV
status among both groups. Investigators then compared
men who reported recent male sex partners only with
men who reported recent male and female sex partners and
again found no significant association between
circumcision and HIV status.

"If the results
from the African circumcision trials were directly
applicable to the MSM in our study, we would have expected
to observe a significantly higher prevalence of HIV
infection among uncircumcised men," investigators told
AIDSmap.com. "Circumcision conferred neither risk nor
protection among black men or Latino men in our study,
however, and was unrelated to seroconversion among MSM who
reported that their last HIV test was negative.
Further, there was no evidence that circumcision was
protective among men who had only engaged in unprotected
insertive anal sex in any of the models."

Investigators
were careful to point out, however, that they do not rule
out circumcision entirely as a prevention method, adding
that this study is not conclusive. (The
Advocate
)

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