Circumcision as a lifetime vaccination with many benefits

Edgar J. Schoen

Think of newborn circumcision as a vaccination, a preventive health procedure which has lifetime benefits against not one, but many, medical disorders. The most significant protective effect of circumcision is against HIV/AIDS, a modern day plague that has killed over 20 million people in the past 20 years, and is now being carried by over 40 million men, women and children worldwide. Since the late 1980s over 30 separate clinical research studies have shown that circumcised men are significantly less likely to acquire HIV when exposed sexually to HIV-positive women then are men with intact foreskins. The evidence has become overwhelming since 2005 following the almost identical findings in three randomized clinical trials (RCTs), the gold standard of clinical research. Circumcision was 60% effective in preventing heterosexual HIV infection, a value equivalent to the protection afforded by many vaccines. The results of the RCTs were so convincing that all 3 studies had to be terminated early when it became obvious that it was no longer ethical to withhold circumcision from the control group. The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) now recognize the powerful protection offered by circumcision and the potential for saving millions of lives. Both the WHO and the United Nations (UNAIDS) have recently advised that circumcision be added to current interventions to reduce the spread of HIV.   Read Full Article.