This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
Male circumcision is the cutting off of
a small amount of skin from the tip of the penis. In many parts of the world it is done when a
baby is a few days old. However, in
other parts of the world it is unacceptable.
have shown that male circumcision can reduce a man's risk of getting HIV, the
virus that causes AIDS. Now, a new study shows that it can also reduce a man's
risk of getting human papillomavirus, or HPV. The research also shows
circumcision reduces the risk for another common sexually transmitted infection,
genital herpes. The study was published
in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study was led by scientists at Johns
Hopkins University in Maryland and Makerere University in Uganda. It involved
about three thousand four hundred uncircumcised Ugandan men between the ages of
fifteen and forty-nine. None had HIV, genital herpes or HPV at the start of the
study. The men were split into two groups. One group got immediate
circumcisions. The others had it done two years later.
All the men were tested for sexually
passed diseases four times in the next two years. The researchers found that
those who had been circumcised were twenty-eight percent less likely to get
genital herpes than uncircumcised men.
They were thirty-three percent less likely to get HPV.
Gray of Johns Hopkins was a lead investigator. He says the team will now study
whether female partners of the men in the study experienced any reduction of
risk of the diseases. This is especially important in the case of human
HPV causes cervical cancer. That disease kills almost three hundred
thousand women around the world every year.
It is the number one cancer killer of women in poor countries.
is a vaccine against the human papillomavirus.
American medical officials have advised that the vaccine, called
Gardasil, be given to girls around age eleven. But, like circumcision, it is an
issue of public debate. Some American parents argue that the vaccine will make
their girls more likely to have sex early.
Others question the vaccine's safety and effectiveness.
Gardasil's maker, Merck, has asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve
the drug for boys beginning at age nine. The complete treatment costs several
And that's the VOA Special English Health Report,
written by Caty Weaver. I'm Bob Doughty.