Men who get circumcised reduce their risk of acquiring HIV, the AIDS virus, by more than half, a clinical trial in South Africa shows.
Many previous studies have suggested such a benefit from male circumcision (SN: 4/3/04, p. 212: Available to subscribers at Better-Off Circumcised? Foreskin may permit HIV entry, infection). But this trial and two ongoing trials in Uganda and Kenya are the first ones to investigate the procedure's effect on HIV risk to men. It did so by randomly assigning some men and not others to be circumcised, says physician Bertran Auvert of INSERM, the French national research agency, in Saint-Maurice.
Auvert and an international team of researchers recruited 3,274 uncircumcised heterosexual men, ages 18 to 24, from an area near Johannesburg.
All wanted to be circumcised and agreed to get the operation either at the start or at the end of the planned 21-month study. After the volunteers were randomly divided, physicia