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A decrease in circumcision rates may lead to higher prevalence of STDs. Decrease in circumcision rates may lead to higher healthcare costs in U.S.
Date: 2012-08-23 20:07:12

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine suggest that the decline in infant male circumcision rates in the U.S. during the last two decades has cost the American healthcare system $2 billion. These expenses stem from the care provided to men and women who screen positive for diseases in STD tests.

The study authors assert that removal of the male foreskin makes it less likely that the penis can harbor pathogens, therefore decreasing the risk of HIV, HPV, herpes, genital warts, penile cancer and, in female partners, cervical cancer.

Currently, 55 percent of males born in the U.S. are circumcised, down from 79 percent during the 1970s and 1980s. The rate in Europe is 10 percent.

Based on the researchers' economic models, if American rates of infant male circumcision fall to European rates, 12 percent, 29 percent, 19 percent and 211 percent more men would contract HIV, HPV, herpes simplex virus and urinary tract infections, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of cases of bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis would double for female partners, while HPV infections would increase by 18 percent.

The rates of infant male circumcision may be falling because some states' Medicaid programs no longer cover the procedure. The researchers plan to share this study with several government officials across the U.S.

Whether men are circumcised, safe sex practices and routine STD tests are still important.

... Full Story

CMV may increase the risk of diabetes later in life. Cytomegalovirus may increase risk of diabetes in senior years
Date: 2012-08-28 19:57:22

Although most people who screen positive for cytomegalovirus (CMV) in a lab test do not develop any symptoms, an infection that lies dormant may increase the likelihood that an individual will develop type 2 diabetes when he or she becomes elderly.

This conclusion is based on a study of more than 500 individuals, which revealed that diabetes was more common among those who were infected with CMV. The researchers theorize that this may be because the virus can put stress on either the pancreas or cells in the immune system, which may then attack the insulin-producing organ.

"In our study we realized that although CMV seropositivity was associated with type 2 diabetes, higher levels of HnA1c and high non-fasting glucose[,] the actual level of antibodies against CMV was not," the researchers wrote in the journal Immunity and Ageing.

Such a concept may explain why only one-third of individuals who have insulin resistance eventually develop diabetes.

These results may not be applicable to the general population, but may provide insight into how the risk of diabetes later in life may be reduced.

A lab test to screen for CMV DNA can help individuals figure out whether they are infected with the virus.

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A parasitic infection may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Study connects trichomoniasis to prostate cancer
Date: 2012-08-30 20:56:50

Researchers from Washington State University discovered a molecular process through which a trichomoniasis infection may eventually lead to prostate cancer. These results are important, considering that such an infection is detectable through STD diagnosis tests.

Trichomoniasis, which is caused by a protozoan parasite, is known as the most common curable STD. Although most people do not experience any symptoms from an infection, it may lead to certain health complications. For example, women who have the parasite may have a greater risk of pregnancy complications and HIV.

Furthermore, a past study indicated that men infected with trichomoniasis are 40 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer, but such a finding was not considered conclusive.

However, the latest research suggests that trichomoniasis may activate a suite of proteins that could lead to prostate cancer. The last of these proteins keeps the others active.

"It's like switching a light switch on," said senior study author John Alderete. "Then, if you don't control the brightness of that light, you can go blind. That's the problem."

Men who are wondering if they harbor trichomoniasis should consider taking STD diagnosis tests. A positive screen could lead to treatment of the infection.

... Full Story

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