News / Health

Study: No Circumcision Link to Risky Behavior

A Rwandan youth is tested for the AIDS virus before he receives a free male circumcision at the Shingiro Health Center in Musanze. (Courtesy the Global Fund)
A Rwandan youth is tested for the AIDS virus before he receives a free male circumcision at the Shingiro Health Center in Musanze. (Courtesy the Global Fund)
Joe DeCapua

A new study that could boost HIV prevention efforts says African men do not engage in riskier sexual behavior after being circumcised. Research has shown that circumcision can greatly reduce men’s risk of being infected with the AIDS virus. The study’s been released as the 20th International AIDS Conference opens in Melbourne, Australia.

Listen to De Capua report on circumcision and HIV
Listen to De Capua report on ciercumcision and HIVi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

The study was done in Kenya’s Nyanza Province, a region where male circumcision is not common. Nelli Westercamp is the study’s principle investigator and lead author and affiliated with the University of Illinois at Chicago.

She said, “The connection between male circumcision and HIV has been detected in a number of observational studies since [the] 1990s. However, the scientific inquiry on this topic culminated when three clinical control trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa found that male circumcision reduces the risk of female to male transmission by about 60-percent.”

Despite the risk reduction, Westercamp said male circumcision should not be used alone to prevent HIV infection.

“It’s supposed to be implemented as a package of interventions altogether – male circumcision, condom promotion, HIV testing and counseling and so on,” she said.

Some feared that if circumcision was promoted as a prevention measure, circumcised men might think it was all right to engage in risky sexual behavior.

Westercamp said, “If men who become circumcised believe that they are fully protected against HIV, and engage in higher sexual risk taking behaviors as a result of this belief, this could reduce or even negate the protective effect of male circumcision against HIV.”

Between 2008 and 2010, nearly 3200 uncircumcised men from Nyanza Province took part in the study. Half underwent medical circumcision, while the other half did not. At the beginning of the study, those who chose to have the procedure actually thought they would be at a greater risk of infection than those who chose not to have it done. That perception declined significantly over time.

Researchers then monitored the participants. Westercamp said fears of increased risky sexual behavior among circumcised men were unfounded.

“Looking at sexual behaviors, we saw that the overall level of sexual activity increased equally in both groups – mostly driven by the youngest age group. That’s 18 to 24 year olds. However, despite this decrease in the risk perception among circumcised men – and an increase in sexual activity in both groups – all other risk behaviors decreased in both groups. And some protective behaviors -- such as condom use -- increased, particularly among circumcised men,” she said.

Westercamp said, “Countries that have been holding back on implementing medical circumcision programs…should have no concerns about scaling-up those programs.” 

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More