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.
circumcision, HIV, epidemiology, evidence-based medicine