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Medical News & Perspectives
August 16, 2006

Routine Male Circumcision Could Prevent Millions of HIV Infections in Africa

JAMA. 2006;296(7):755. doi:10.1001/jama.296.7.755

Routine circumcision of all men in Africa could prevent 2 million new HIV infections and avert 300 000 deaths over the next 10 years, according to an analysis published by an international team of researchers in July.

The beneficial effects of this intervention would be even greater after 20 years, with 3.7 million new infections prevented and 2.7 million deaths averted. The team analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial that found male circumcision reduced sexual transmission of HIV from women to men by 60% (Auvert B et al. PLoS Med. 2005;2:e298.) and data on the prevalence of circumcision and HIV infection in Africa to determine the potential impact of this intervention (Williams BG et al. PLoS Med. 2006;3:e262). They found that routine male circumcision can provide a reduction in HIV transmission that is equivalent to such interventions as a potential vaccine or increased condom use.