By DR GREGGORY PINTO
Next to abstinence, safe monogamous sex with condom use every single time is the best method to reduce the chance of HIV transmission.
John Hopkins University Researcher Dr Aaron Tobian and colleagues showed that male circumcision reduces HIV infection, genital herpes and HPV rates for men and women.
Three randomised studies in countries with high HIV rates - South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda - have confirmed that male adult medical circumcisions can reduce HIV transmission from women to men by as much as 60 per cent, and from men to women by about 15 per cent. This significant reduction in HIV transmission also correlates with the reduction in transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, herpes, hepatitis and HPV (Human Papilloma Virus).
HPV is associated with a higher incidence of cervical cancer for women, and male circumcision can lead to a large reduction in cervical cancer risk in women.
Although it is true the women with circumcised partners are not as likely to develop cervical cancer, they are however not completely without risk.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC ) conducted a scientific multi-centre case control study on cervical cancer and male circumcision in Spain, Brazil, Columbia, the Philippines, Thailand that showed convincingly that male circumcision as associated with a reduced risk of cervical HPV and cervical cancer in the man's female sexual partners.
How does circumcision offer a reduced risk of HIV transmission?
Most of the penile skin consists of keratinised epithelium that has an outer layer, the stratum corneum, which is a layer of dead cells that is protective against viruses in that it is less likely to tear and it provides a protective barrier against viruses including HIV.
The foreskin of uncircumcised penises has a mucosal layer that is not keratinised and it has a much higher risk of minor tearing and allowing the transmission of viruses including HIV.
Bahamian men, for the love of your female partners and yourself, consider painless circumcision that has little to no recovery time and can prevent possible HIV transmission and cervical cancer.
Circumcision can be done as a quick painless outpatient procedure whereby the male is either put to sleep under general anaesthesia or placed under conscious sedation with regional anaesthesia. Men require minimal or no recovery period.
It is a painless minimally invasive procedure that can be life saving for both men and their female partners.
• Dr Greggory Pinto is a Bahamian urologist who has trained in South Africa, Germany and France. He is a member of the European Association of Urologists. Dr Pinto can be reached at Urology Care Bahamas at the Surgical Suite, Centreville Medical Centre, Collins Avenue and Sixth Terrace. Call 326-1929, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit urologycarebahamas.com.