VMMC reduces HPV infections

Getting circumcised reduced men’s risk of acquiring human papillomavirus (HPV) in a randomized clinical trial in Kisumu, Kenya, reports Gillings School News of the University of North Carolina. The trial, which was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, involved 2,193 uncircumcised, HIV-negative, sexually active men ages 18 to 24; half of the men were randomly assigned to be circumcised, and all participants provided cell samples for HPV DNA testing every six months for two years. HPV prevalence, which was 50 percent at baseline, dropped to 23.7 percent among the circumcised men and 41% among the uncircumcised men at 24 months. New HPV infections were significantly lower among circumcised men over the two years, and circumcision also improved HPV clearance. The authors concluded that male circumcision should be considered effective in reducing the risk of HPV infection, reinfection, and persistence and therefore could contribute to primary prevention of penile, anal, cervical, and other HPV-related cancers (Gillings School News, 10 May 2021).