A circumcision is a surgical procedure that removes the foreskin (the loose tissue) covering the glands of the penis. Circumcision may be performed for religious or cultural reasons, or for health reasons. It is also believed to decrease the risk of urinary tract infections and lower the risk of certain sexually transmitted diseases, including especially HIV.
Is a Circumcision safe?
Circumcision is generally a safe surgical procedure if the following conditions are met:
The circumcision is done with care
The circumcision is performed by a trained, experienced practitioner
According to BBC news, international experts have backed the use of male circumcision in the prevention of HIV. The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS said circumcision should be added to current interventions to reduce the spread of HIV.
Three African trials have shown that circumcision halved the rate of HIV infection in heterosexual men. The recommendations largely apply to countries where rates of heterosexual transmission are high. All three African trials were stopped early because the results were so dramatic - with reduced rates of new HIV infections of 48-60%.
There are several reasons why circumcision may protect against HIV infection.
Specific cells in the foreskin may be potential targets for HIV infection
The skin under the foreskin becomes less sensitive and is less likely to bleed reducing risk of infection following circumcision