If you are deciding whether to have your son circumcised, you might want to know these 5 facts about circumcision and HIV. People have long questioned whether there is a link between whether a man is circumcised and his risk for contracting the HIV virus. Recent research has tackled this question. Read on for 5 facts about circumcision and HIV:
- Several studies have shown that men who are circumcised are at lower risk for contracting the HIV virus during vaginal intercourse. Two of the main studies with these findings were conducted in Africa. They were published in 2000 and in 2003.
- One reason for this lower risk among circumcised men is that the cells in the inner part of the foreskin, removed during circumcision, are more susceptible to the HIV virus. The foreskin also tears more easily, allowing the virus to enter through breaks in the skin. The area between the foreskin and the head of the penis is also an ideal survival ground for the virus.
- For most circumcised men, the risk for contracting HIV is 44 percent lower than for uncircumcised men. For circumcised men at high risk for contracting HIV, the risk is 71 percent lower than for uncircumcised men. This includes men who have already had other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Another study, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, lists the reduced risk for HIV at 53 to 60 percent for uncircumcised men. However, no study of this issue has been conducted in the United States. This means that the reduced risk percentage might be lower for American men.
- Despite the link between circumcision and reduced risk for HIV, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend routine circumcision. They categorize circumcision as an elective procedure, with ethical, religious, and hygiene considerations. As a parent, you must weigh the risk and benefits of circumcision and decide whether it is the right choice for your child.