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Male circumcision may reduce the risk of various STD infections, according to research conducted in Africa.
In a study appearing last month in The New England Journal of Medicine, rates of infection with the herpes virus went down by 28 percent and human papillomavirus (which causes cervical cancer and genital warts) by 35 percent after circumcision. Earlier studies by the same group found that HIV infection rates dropped 60 percent post-circumcision.
These studies were performed on adult males in Uganda, and similar results have been found by other groups working in Kenya and South Africa, according to a Science News.
"Evidence now strongly suggests that circumcision offers an important prevention opportunity and should be widely available," Drs Matthew Golden and Judith Wasserheit of the University of Washington wrote in an editorial accompanying the research in the Journal.
Worldwide, only about 30 percent of men are circumcised, while in the U.S. the number is almost 80 percent, according to the U.S. News and World Report.
The researchers wrote, "It must be emphasized that protection was only partial, and it is critical to promote the practice of safe sex," such as the use of condoms and regular STD testing.
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