This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
AIDS researchers had important news last week. Two studies in Africa
confirmed that men who are circumcised greatly reduce their risk of
infection with HIV during sex with women.
The United States National Institutes of Health announced an early end to the
studies because the results were clear. In Kisumu, Kenya, it said, men who
underwent circumcision were 53 percent less likely to become infected than
The other study in Rakai, Uganda, showed a reduction of 48 percent.
HIV rates are generally lower in areas of the world where the removal of the
foreskin from the penis is common in babies or young boys.
Many studies have suggested that male circumcision might help protect against
infection with the AIDS virus. But Doctor Anthony Fauci noted that the new
findings come from large, carefully controlled studies. Doctor Fauci is the
director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
He says adult male circumcision could also lead to fewer infections in women
in areas where HIV is spread mainly through heterosexual sex.
Experts say the findings offer hope especially for countries in Africa south
of the Sahara. The United Nations estimates that sub-Saharan Africa had close to
three million new HIV infections this year. That was about two-thirds of all new
Health experts involved in the studies say they hope circumcision will become
one of the basic tools to fight HIV and AIDS. But they expect some barriers.
It may be difficult to get men to have the operation, especially if it
conflicts with cultural beliefs. Cost is another issue. And it may be difficult
to find high-quality medical care so the operation is performed safely.
Some people have also expressed concern that circumcision will be given too
much weight in the fight against AIDS. They say men might think they can forget
about other ways to prevent infection.
The National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health
Research paid for the studies. Five thousand men took part in Uganda and
almost 3,000 in Kenya.
The studies were supposed to continue through the middle of next year.
Instead, the researchers are now offering circumcisions to the men in the
uncircumcised groups in those studies.
And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. You
can learn more about AIDS at www.unsv.com. I'm Bob Doughty.
circumcise : to remove the prepuce of (a