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Male circumcision tied to lower HIV prevalence

Programs in eastern and southern Africa changing people’s views on the procedure

WASHINGTON — An increase in male circumcision in a South African community coincides with lower overall HIV rates among adult men in that population, a new study finds. Meanwhile, a report from Kenya bolsters earlier findings that young men who get circumcised are less than half as likely as their uncircumcised peers to acquire HIV.

The two reports were presented July 24 at the 19th International AIDS Conference.

Researchers in Orange Farm, South Africa, devised a community-wide program in 2008 that provided free circumcision for men, plus condoms and counseling. Within three years, the adult male circumcision rate jumped from 17 percent to 54 percent, said Bertran Auvert, a physician at the University of Versailles in France who works on the project.

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