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Circumcision as Good as HIV Vaccine?

There is an article up on CBS Health Watch that talks about the results of a recent study published in the July issue of the public-access online journal PLoS Medicine. Read the full report here, or the editorial summary here.

The report claims:

This would be the same effect as an AIDS vaccine that was 37% effective in protecting both men and women against HIV infection.

Which sounds pretty amazing, on the surface. If you dig a bit deeper, you find this nugget in the editorial summary:

They made the assumption that if circumcision is intensively promoted, all men in those countries will be circumcised in 10 years time.

Right ... So ... let me get this straight ... they think that if they "intensively promoted" circumcision, that all men in those countries will be circumcised in 10 years? I don't think so ... We don't even have all men here in the US circumcised, even though it's a very common practice. As of 2001, only 55.1% of American males are circumcised. Read the full report on that here, and here. That's not even mentioning the fact that the rate is declining ... here ... in the US.

While circumcision may be a good start in preventing the spread of AIDS, I don't think circumcision could ever have the "same effect as an AIDS vaccine that was 37% effective." That's a bit of a stretch.

Thanks for the link from Wizbang! and the Carnival of the Trackbacks.

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