Circumcision to cut AIDS rate in half
Circumcision appears to reduce a man’s risk of contracting AIDS from heterosexual sex by half, United States government health officials said yesterday, and the directors of the two largest funds for fighting the disease said they would consider paying for circumcisions in high-risk countries.Yet another shred of evidence that highlights the medical benefits of a practice given to Western society by Judaism. Circumcision nay-sayers don't have a leg to stand on. It's a practice that has been repeatedly proven to have numerous health benefits.
The announcement was made by officials of the National Institutes of Health as they halted two clinical trials, in Kenya and Uganda, on the ground that not offering circumcision to all the men taking part would be unethical. The success of the trials confirmed a study done last year in South Africa.
AIDS experts immediately hailed the finding. “This is very exciting news,” said Daniel Halperin, an H.I.V. specialist at the Harvard Center for Population and Development, who has argued that circumcision slows the spread of AIDS in the parts of Africa where it is common.
In an interview from Zimbabwe, he added, “I have no doubt that as word of this gets around, millions of African men will want to get circumcised, and that will save many lives.”
Uncircumcised men are thought to be more susceptible because the underside of the foreskin is rich in Langerhans cells, sentinel cells of the immune system, which attach easily to the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS. The foreskin also often suffers small tears during intercourse.
Related: WHO: Circumcision to reduce AIDS rates