Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Study: Circumcision Protects Against Genital Wart Virus

Wendy has long professed her distaste for men with the "turtle neck" or that extra kind. Now, a report may buttress her point.

A study of nearly 1000 men in three countries has yielded more evidence that circumcision helps protect against infection with human papillomavirus.

Human papillomavirus has long been known as a cause of genital warts, but in recent years most reports have focused on its association with cervical cancer. The virus, which is transmitted sexually and by skin-to-skin contact, can also cause anal and penis cancers.

"Interventions such as circumcision may provide a low-cost method to reduce human papillomavirus infection," Dr. Anna R. Giuliano, from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, and colleagues conclude in a report in the International Journal of Cancer.

Using data from the Human papillomavirus In Men (HIM) study group, the investigators determined factors associated with human papillomavirus infection in 988 men, ages 18 to 70 years, living in Brazil, Mexico or the United States.

Human papillomavirus infection was strongly related to sexual behavior and circumcision, the investigators found.

"In this multi-national study where approximately 60 percent of study participants were un-circumcised, we found circumcision to be associated with a significantly reduced risk of...human papillomavirus," they report.

These findings, they point out, mirror those of a previous study in a mixed ethnic group of men from Tucson, Arizona, and are similar to what others have reported in studies conducted in Spain, Columbia, Brazil, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and Denmark, the team notes.

By contrast, as the number of lifetime female sexual partners, number of female partners in the past 3 months, and number of anal sex partners increased, so did the risk of human papillomavirus infection.

Reported race of Asian/Pacific Islander was also linked to an increased risk of human papillomavirus infection.

Unlike what has been shown in women, age appeared to have no bearing on the risk of infection, the authors note.

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Mark Lyndon said...

What if someone funded a study that showed that female circumcision reduced HPV. Would you support that too? There is already evidence that female circumcision is associated with lower rates of HIV. You can vaccinate people against HPV anyway.

If you think there's a fundamental difference between male circumcision and female circumcision, you should find out more about them. You could also try convincing the people in countries that cut girls that there's a difference.

Hugh7 said...

Almost all the circumcised men will have come from the USA, almost all the intact men from Brazil and Mexico, simply because circumcision is common in the US and rare in the south. There are a host of factors other than circumcision that could explain why southern men have more HPV, starting with a greater prevalence in those countries, linked with poorer hygiene, etc. An earlier study, making the same claim, had the same fault. In that case almost all the circumcised men came from the Philippines, almost all the intact men from four other countries. It turned out the the difference hinged on six men, but the researchers used high-level statistics to obscure that fact.

It is no coincidence that a flurry of studies has come out claiming circumcision prevents HPV transmission, after it was pointed out that circumcision offers no protection against HIV to women. There is a little coterie of researchers promoting circumcision for all they are worth.

Without making a comparison about any other aspect, what would Wendy think of a man who professed his distaste for her (presumably) untrimmed genitalia, as men are said to do in parts of Africa?

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