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Study: Uncircumsized men at greater risk for HIV

Study: Uncircumsized men at greater risk for HIV

Uncircumcised men are eight times as likely to become infected with HIV than circumcised men, according to a study of nearly 2,300 men in India released on Thursday. A researcher at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggested that the inner surface of the foreskin does not have the same protective layer as the outside and is potentially more vulnerable to HIV. Previous studies have reached similar conclusions. Although the current study focused only on at-risk heterosexual males, scientists believe uncircumcised gay men also are more likely that circumcised gay men to contract HIV if exposed to the virus because it is easier for body fluids to become trapped under the foreskin and placed in direct contact with Langerhans cells on the underside of the foreskin that HIV targets for infection. Infection with other sexually transmitted diseases like herpes and gonorrhea also were slightly higher among uncircumcised men, the researchers reported. Male circumcision is common in North America and elsewhere for religious and cultural reasons. In the United States, some two thirds of male infants are circumcised annually, despite American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines that say the procedure has little medical benefit and carries a slight risk for complications. Worldwide, the rates vary widely, depending on culture and religion. In many countries, including India, circumcision is uncommon.

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