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Circumcised men less apt to spread chlamydia

Female sexual partners of circumcised men are less likely to contract Chlamydia trachomatis infections than are those of uncircumcised men, a study shows.
/ Source: Reuters

Female sexual partners of circumcised men are less likely to contract Chlamydia trachomatis infections than are those of uncircumcised men, a study shows.

The most common bacterial cause of sexually transmitted infections, C. trachomatis can cause severe reproductive complications in women and is associated with increased risk of cervical cancer.

The relationship between male circumcision and C. trachomatis infection in the female partner has not been explored, Dr. Xavier Castellsague, at Institut Catala d’Oncologia in Barcelona, and colleagues point out in the American Journal of Epidemiology for November.

They therefore evaluated this relationship among 300 female subjects enrolled in studies in Colombia, Spain, Brazil, Thailand and the Philippines and their male partners. Blood samples from the women were tested for C. trachomatis.

According to the report, the overall prevalence of circumcision was 37 percent among the men, ranging from 1.8 percent in Spain to 92 percent in the Philippines.

Women whose partners were circumcised were significantly less likely to be infected with C. trachomatis. This was true across all five countries.

Only among younger women and women with a history of consistent condom use was there no association between circumcision and C. trachomatis detection.

The researchers speculate that a penis with retained foreskin is perhaps more likely to retain infection for a longer duration than a penis with no foreskin, “subsequently increasing the likelihood of infection to the penile urethra and transmission to the vagina during intercourse.”