Traditional cut not protective

Research among men in Lesotho has found that traditionally circumcised men are more likely to be HIV-positive than men who were circumcised in a health facility, Sunday World reports. The study, which was published in the online journal PLOS One, analyzed data collected on 2,546 men in Lesotho, where traditional male circumcisions account for 91 percent of all such procedures. The researchers found no evidence that men in either group engaged in riskier sexual behavior after being circumcised, making it unlikely that a difference in post-circumcision behavior explains the higher risk of HIV among those circumcised traditionally. Studies in Lesotho and South Africa have found that traditional circumcision usually does not involve complete removal of the foreskin, which harbours cells targeted by HIV. The lack of protection afforded by traditional male circumcision may explain why previous studies have shown no association between male circumcision and reduced risk of HIV in Lesotho (Sunday World, 15 May 2017).