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Doctor: Circumcision may decrease herpes infection

Category: HIV

Male circumcision may reduce the risk of contracting certain sexually transmitted diseases, recent research indicates.

A study of 5,000 Ugandan males revealed that rates of infection of the virus that causes herpes decreased by 28 percent after circumcision, while the transmission rate of HPV lowered by 35 percent. A separate analysis indicated that circumcision reduced the spread of HIV infection by 60 percent.

Dr Ronald H. Gray, a professor of reproductive epidemiology at John Hopkins suggested a universal correlation of this data stating, "There is no reason to believe that this is in any way unique to Africa."

Dr Thomas Quinn, senior investigator in infectious diseases at the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious diseases explained, "The foreskin has two different sides. The outside is much like regular skin cells. However the inside is mucosal… It’s likely that there are vital receptors on that mucosal side that makes it easier for a virus to get into the cells."

Quinn has recommended that health care policies be changed so that insurers like Medicaid would cover the cost of circumcision, so that those most susceptible to contracting STDs would be able to afford the procedure.

The researchers did not find evidence that male circumcision protects against the spread of other STDs, such as syphilis, and continue to recommend condoms as the best practice of safe sex.

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