Two large clinical trials in East Africa show that being circumcised halves a man's risk of contracting HIV infection. The finding mirrors the results of a recent South African study (SN: 10/29/05, p. 275: Defense Mechanism: Circumcision averts some HIV infections).
Combined, the reports offer definitive evidence that circumcision confers strong—though not complete—protection against infection by the virus, says Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Md.
The spotlight now moves to policy makers in Africa, some of whom are already investigating strategies to make safe circumcision available to men and boys who want the operation.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.