Bacteria under foreskin raises risk

A study conducted in Uganda has revealed that a 10-fold increase in several types of bacteria living under a man’s foreskin can increase his risk of acquiring HIV infection by up to 63 percent, Medical Xpress reports. The researchers said that this study, which was published in the journal MBio on 25 July, is the first to show that having more oxygen-intolerant bacteria colonizing the foreskin can be an independent risk factor for HIV. The study suggests that some species of anaerobic bacteria trigger “biochemical alarms” that draw immune cells to the penis, where they are more easily infected by HIV, one of the investigators explained. Another is quoted as saying that “this work helps us understand how medical male circumcision reduces HIV infection in men and points towards novel interventions to decrease HIV risk in the future” (Medical Xpress, 25 July 2017).