Studies Show Male Circumcisions May Reduce the Spread of AIDS
Three studies have reported that circumcising heterosexual men may be one of the best ways to reduce the spread of AIDS. The studies show that the risk of infecting someone with the deadly disease can be reduced by 60 percent or more. Now, public health officials are trying to implement methods that would make the circumcision process safe and efficient, the New York Times reported.
Circumcision can reduce the spread of AIDS because the foreskin has several Langerhans cells, which "pick up viruses and ’present’ them to the immune system, which HIV attacks," the New York Times writes.
Officials want to circumcise 20 million African men by 2015 but currently, only about 600,000 have undergone the procedure. Several countries in Africa suffer from a lack of surgeons, so health experts from the World Health Organization (WHO) are considering new tools and methods of circumcision, including an innovative new procedure called PrePex.
PrePex was invented in 2009 and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration three weeks ago. The device is said to be faster and less painful than similar products on the market. It uses a simple rubber band that compresses the foreskin against a plastic ring, which causes the foreskin to die in a few hours due to lack of blood. In a week, the skin falls off or can be clipped off. The company’s chief executive officer, Tzameret Fuerst, compared the process to the clipping a fingernail and "the stump of an umbilical cord shriveling up and dropping off a few days after it is clamped."
AIDS-prevention expert Mitchell Warren said that the WHO also is looking into the Shang Ring, which was developed in China to treat foreskin that becomes too tight and prevents men from urinating. The device is a plastic two-ring clamp but it requires the circumciser to use anesthetics, requiring the circumciser to have training in minor surgery.