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The World in Medicine
August 16, 2006

HIV and Circumcision

JAMA. 2006;296(7):759. doi:10.1001/jama.296.7.759-b

Australian researchers have discovered that HIV-susceptible Langerhans cells on the inner surface of the foreskin and frenulum of uncircumcised men are poorly protected by a thin layer of keratin, a finding that may help explain why removal of this tissue during circumcision appears to reduce female-to-male transmission of HIV (McCoombe SG and Short RV. AIDS. 2006;20:1491-1495). Scientists suspect that the HIV receptor–bearing Langerhans cells in mucosal surfaces targeted by HIV serve as a primary point of viral entry following sexual exposure.

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