Circumcision Causes "Dramatic Changes" in Penis Bacteria, Says Phoenix-Based TGen

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After spending a year studying 156 penises in Uganda, researchers say male circumcision reduces bacteria on the penis, and perhaps is the reason why circumcision can protect men from contracting HIV.

Scientists have been studying the relationship between circumcision and rates of HIV for more than two decades, and this study led by the Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) apparently provides the reason why.

See also:
-Anticircumcision Activists Say Trimming a Bit Off the Top Is Too Much

Men who got circumcised just for this study had 33 percent less bacteria than the guys who kept their foreskins for the year after the study started.

"Past studies have shown that circumcision reduces female-to-male HIV transmission, among other benefits," according to TGen. "This study suggests a possible mechanism for HIV protection -- the shift in the number and type of bacteria living on the penis."

The public-health benefits, and other facts of circumcision have long been debated, and it looks like this study might further that.

TGen says this research "could help to identify new intervention strategies for decreasing HIV transmission, especially for populations with high HIV prevalence and in places where male circumcision is culturally less acceptable."

Other studies have shown that circumcision reduces risk of infection of HPV and herpes, too, and this might be for the same reason that HIV transmission goes down.

According to the microbiology journal that published the study, the study's author "was circumspect about the implications of the study for public health and circumcision, preferring to focus on the implications it may have for other, less invasive interventions."



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6 comments
ml66uk
ml66uk

Female genitals are harder to clean than men's, but we don't cut parts off baby girls to make it easier.

It's illegal to cut off a girl's prepuce, or to make any incision on a girl's genitals, even if no tissue is removed. Even a pinprick is banned. Why don't boys get the same protection? Everyone should be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want parts of their genitals cut off. It's *their* body.

Male circumcision doesn't seem to help against AIDS either.  From a USAID report:
"There appears no clear pattern of association between male circumcision and HIV prevalence—in 8 of 18 countries with data, HIV prevalence is lower among circumcised men, while in the remaining 10 countries it is higher."

It's really easy to find circumcised doctors who are against circumcision, but surprisingly difficult to find male doctors in favour who weren't circumcised themselves as children.

cindylawrence535
cindylawrence535

It's best to just teach boys to wash themselves and use condoms and they should be fine. That's far more effective than circumcision. 

cindylawrence535
cindylawrence535

It's best to just teach boys to wash themselves and use condoms and they should be fine. That's far more effective than circumcision. 

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

Dr. Spock, long a supporter of lopping off foreskins, came to the conclusion late in life that parents should just "leave his little penis alone." Truth is, except in rare cases, that it's cosmetic surgery and completely unnecessary. Insurance doesn't pay for it anymore, only when it is deemed medically necessary. For the longest time I thought about suing my parents for having it done to me. So Jaffy, in case you were wondering....

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