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Exposé of fallacious claims that male circumcision will increase HIV infections in Africa

Brian J. Morris, Jake H. Waskett, Ronald H. Gray, Daniel T. Halperin, Richard Wamai, Bertran Auvert, Jeffrey D. Klausner
  • Jake H. Waskett
    Circumcision Independent Reference and Commentary Service, United Kingdom
  • Ronald H. Gray
    Johns Hopkins University, United States
  • Daniel T. Halperin
    Harvard School of Public Health, United States
  • Richard Wamai
    Northeastern University Boston, United States
  • Bertran Auvert
    INSERM-UVSQ, France
  • Jeffrey D. Klausner
    University of California, United States

Abstract

Despite over two decades of extensive research showing that male circumcision protects against heterosexual acquisition of HIV in men, and that includes findings from large randomized controlled trials leading to acceptance by the WHO/UNAIDS and the Cochrane Committee, opponents of circumcision continue to generate specious arguments to the contrary. In a recent issue of the Journal of Public Health in Africa, Van Howe and Storms claim that male circumcision will increase HIV infections in Africa. Here we review the statements they use in support of their thesis and show that there is no scientific basis to such an assertion. We also evaluate the statistics used and show that when these data are properly analyzed the results lead to a contrary conclusion affirming the major role of male circumcision in protecting against HIV infection in Africa. Researchers, policy makers and the wider community should rely on balanced scholarship when assessing scientific evidence. We trust that our assessment may help refute the claims by Van Howe and Storms, and provide reassurance on the importance of circumcision for HIV prevention.

Keywords

circumcision, HIV, epidemiology, evidence-based medicine

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Submitted: 2011-05-23 09:27:05
Published: 2011-09-05 10:33:45
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Copyright (c) 2011 Brian J. Morris, Jake H. Waskett, Ronald H. Gray, Daniel T. Halperin, Richard Wamai, Bertran Auvert, Jeffrey D. Klausner

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