Can HIV be prevented by male circumcision?

can hiv be prevented by male circumcision

Male circumcision is a very old procedure that has been in practice for the last 15,000 years. Circumcision is important in Islam and Judaism, where it is regarded as an act of inducing males into faith. Apart from the religious angle, circumcision has also some health benefits associated with it. Circumcision helps in improving hygiene, and decreasing chances of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and penile cancer. If facts are to be believed circumcision also reduces the chances of HIV in heterosexual males.

Research has proven that circumcised males have around two to eight times less likelihood of contracting HIV. A Ugandan study talks about a case, where the woman was HIV positive, but her husband was not. Many other studies have established that circumcision prevents HIV infection risk in heterosexual men by about 60%.

How circumcision protects men from HIV?

About 70% of men get infected with HIV through vaginal and anal sex. HIV enters the body through the penis. An uncircumcised penis has a shaft, glans, ureteral opening, frenulum and foreskin. There are many HIV receptors on the inner surface of the foreskin and frenulum. Thus, making people with uncircumcised penis more vulnerable to HIV infections if they have unprotected sex.

In circumcised men, the glans of penis forms a thicker layer, which provides protection against HIV. The tougher skin on the epithelium of the glans penis works as natural condom; thereby, reducing the risk of STDs like HIV.

Are condoms required during sex by men who have circumcised penis?

Circumcision does protect against many STDs, and it is alone not sufficient to be used as a contraception method. Whether the penis is circumcised or not, measures like using condoms must be taken to prevent HIV and other STDs.