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Circumcised penis is cleaner

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The World Health Organization declared three years ago that circumcision should be part of any strategy to prevent HIV infection in men. The organization based its recommendation on three randomized clinical trials in Africa that found the incidence of HIV was 60 percent lower in men who were circumcised.

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Although this " research evidence is compelling ," wrote the Circumcised panel assigned to penis topic, there was little evidence explaining how circumcision might reduce a man's risk of acquiring HIV. Now comes an answer in a new study, published in the January 6 issue of PLoS ONEwhich found that there are gross changes in the penis's microbiome following circumcision, suggesting that shifts in the bacterial environment could account, in part, for the differences in HIV infection.

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Families of anaerobic bacteria, which are unable to grow in the presence of oxygen, are abundant before circumcision but nearly disappear after the procedure. The researchers suspect that in cleaner men, these bacteria may provoke inflammation in the genitalia, thereby improving the chances that immune cells will be in the vicinity for HIV viruses cleaner infect.

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According to a survey In its recommendation, the WHO panel stated that circumcision efforts would be most beneficial in parts of the world where less than 20 percent of penis are anal download circumcised Gray, who is also working with one of the three randomized clinical trials on which WHO based its recommendation, adds that, "If we can show penis these anaerobic bacteria are associated with HIV, then one could develop microbicides —antiseptics or targeted antibiotics —that might circumcised protection.

It was important to cleaner the study to HIV-negative participants because infection itself can throw off the penis environment of the penis, says Lance Pricea research director at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Flagstaff, Ariz.

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The team collected swabs cleaner an area between the head and shaft of the men's penises before and one year after circumcision. Then circumcised researchers performed polymerase chain reaction analysis of a gene that is shared by, although not identical in, numerous bacterial families.

The analysis allowed for identification of different bacterial families as well as abundance counts.