Monday, December 18, 2006

REALLY?! Wait. What?!

Circumcision reduces the risk of contracting HIV?! Explain the science. Please. I don't comprehend. Or, is this just another way to make even more Africans have unprotected sex? I mean, c'mon, two clinical trials and we're all done? All ready to tell the guys to cut their penises up? I'm 100% skeptical about this.

I do understand that circumcision can result in much improved hygiene, but hygiene and the HIV virus are not one in the same.


Anonymous said...

Uncircumcised men are thought to be more susceptible to AIDS because the underside of the foreskin is rich in Langerhans’ cells, which attach easily to the virus. The foreskin may also suffer small tears during intercourse, making it more susceptible to infection.

That's all the article really gave in the way of an explanation. I agree with you, though; circumcision should never be viewed as an alternative to condoms or abstinence. That goes triple for Africa, since they've got such an epidemic.

Maliavale said...

The article does mention that -- that circumcision is not a substitute for condoms, abstinence, what-have-you. I believe this is also the latest in a series of studies (I want to say, like, 40?), though this specific article doesn't mention it.

AnonymousCoworker said...

I also feel like the area between the foreskin and the penis would be more susceptible to harboring HIV carrying fluids for a longer period of time, resulting in a greater chance of exposure.


Ditto the two comments above. I didn't get the impression that any of the doctors were advocating circumcision in lieu of using protection -- in Africa or elsewhere. And, this wasn't the first (or second) of such trials.

The Fake Doctor is a blogger / 3rd year med student. He mentioned this stuff in a recent post, and he might be able to point out additional medical sources if you're interested.

don't call me MA'AM said...

I heard about this in a study a couple of years ago and was wondering why we're just hearing about it again. The study I heard (on the Health Channel or some such thing) was exactly what kristen noted... as well as the fact that it wasn't a substitute for condoms or abstinence either.

BelchSpeak said...

This will sound gross, but the foreskin is very susceptible to TEARING. And once that happens, it is never really right again. And as HIV requires blood to blood contact, it is much more likely to happen with uncircumcised men.

Ever listen to loveline? I swear, once each show a man calls in complaining about the horrible pain and problems he has with the foreskin. The usual answer from Dr. Drew is to get a circumcision.