October #117 : A Little off the Top - by Chris Nutter

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Table of Contents

Immuno's Defense

Quick Draw

The Common Touch

Seeking for the Perfect Pill

Three’s the Charm With One-A-Day

No Cure, But A Better Liver

Striking Gold

Doctor’s Diary - October 2005

Home Work

Daring to Diet

Do and Don’t-Do Diets

Flu-Shot Time


In Sickness and In Health

Buzz Off

A Little off the Top

Buddy Up

Who Will Save Them Next?

Pulse - October 2005

Wait-Lifting Stretches

Charlize in Charge

Miss Congeniality 3:HIV

Rap Sheet

Mentors - October 2005

Sex Toys R Us

Trying Trials


Editor's Letter - October 2005

Mailbox - October 2005

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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October 2005

A Little off the Top

by Chris Nutter

Can circumcision save straight men from HIV?

“Cut” or “uncut” is usually a choice for parents of newborns, but circumcision could be a promising HIV-prevention tool. The results of the first large-scale study of heterosexual HIV infection and circumcision confirm long-held speculations that foreskin heightens transmission risk.

The 3,000-man South African trial revealed circumcision to be 65% to 75% effective in preventing woman-to-man HIV transmission—51 of the 69 infected men were uncut. Other studies suggest that the foreskin contains a high density of cells targeted by HIV.

Five-sixths of the world’s men are uncircumcised, so researchers are debating the cut as a public-health measure. “We have so few tools to fight [HIV]— any are welcome,” says Robert C. Bailey, PhD, investigator of an ongoing Kenyan study. “But we should wait for other studies.”

Regardless, cost, access and cultural taboos could hinder a snipping policy. Then there’s the unkindest cut, says George Denniston, MD, of Doctors Opposing Circumcision: “Removing foreskin removes sexual pleasure.” Ouch.

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