Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The Rabbi had it right: circumcision helps prevent HIV
I love Discover Magazine's Top 100 Science Stories of the Year. Unfortunately, that's the geek in me looking for clips on dark matter and soil problems causing the fall of ancient civilizations. But every so often you find news you can use.
Top story number 15 is Male Circumcision: A New Defense Against HIV, which documents the fact having your newborn baby boy visited by a mohel can actually reduce his risk of transmitted HIV by a whopping 60%!!!
"Circumcision is thought to prevent infection because the underside of the foreskin is rich in immune cells that are particularly vulnerable to HIV. Small tears in the foreskin during intercourse can also allow the virus to slip into the body."
What's really interesting (and dismaying) about this story is that apparently this 2006 study only reinforces a 1999 study done in Great Britain that has been studiously and intentionally ignored by the World Health Organization. The study estimates that implementing a policy of recommending universal male circumcision in Africa could "6 million HIV infections and 3 million deaths over 20 years."
****[Correction]****As an alert reader pointed out, I got the part about a Brit study wrong. It has been an ongoing debate, not a study.****[Correction]****
Hey, just another reason why we should turn our medical decisions over to a bureaucracy!