THURSDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Among HIV-negative sexual
partners, male circumcision helps prevent the transmission of human
papillomavirus from men to women, according to a new study.
However, circumcision offers only partial protection and
partners must still practice safe sex, the researchers pointed
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection
that puts women at risk for cervical cancer. Previous research has
shown that circumcision reduces the risk of HPV infection in
In this new study, researchers analyzed data from two clinical
trials in Uganda that followed HIV-negative men and their
HIV-negative female partners between 2003 and 2006. The incidence
of new high-risk HPV infection was 23 percent lower for women with
circumcised partners than for those with uncircumcised partners,
the investigators found.
"Along with previous trial results in men, these findings indicate that male circumcision should now be accepted as an efficacious intervention for reducing heterosexually acquired high-risk and low-risk HPV infections in men who do not have HIV and in their female partners. However, our results indicate that protection is only partial; the promotion of safe sex practices is also important," concluded Drs. Aaron Tobian and Maria Wawer, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
The study was published online Jan. 6 in
In an accompanying commentary, Dr. Anna R. Giuliano of the H.
Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., and colleagues wrote:
"Recent findings add important evidence for the promotion of male
circumcision in countries without well-established programs for
cervical screening. Additional interventions to reduce HPV
infection, such as provision of vaccines for HPV prevention, will
be essential to reduce invasive cervical cancer worldwide. Male
circumcision is associated with slight reductions in high-risk HPV,
while licensed HPV vaccines protect with high effectiveness against
only a limited number of HPV types. Therefore, the two
interventions are likely to have important synergistic
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more