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9 January 2008
New Study Overturns Previous Circumcision Findings
by George Atkinson

Conventional wisdom holds that circumcision reduces penile sensitivity, but a large new study found that 98 percent of men who are circumcised enjoy the same levels of sexual satisfaction as men who are not. The study, published in BJU International, involved nearly 4,500 men was undertaken because previous studies (see links below) showed that the procedure - which is now recommended as an efficient way to reduce HIV transmission - showed conflicting results.

"Previous studies have been problematic and shown contradictory results," said study co-author Professor Ronald H Gray from the Bloomberg School of Health. "Studies focusing on men circumcised in adulthood were highly selective, because there were medical indications for surgery, circumcised infants can't provide before and after comparisons and in most studies sample sizes were small and follow-up was short. This [new] study, carried out as part of an HIV prevention initiative, enabled us to compare two groups of men with the same demographic profiles and levels of sexual satisfaction and performance at the start of the study."

The study focused on 4,456 sexually experienced Ugandan men aged from 15 to 49 who did not have the HIV virus. Of these, 2,210 were randomized to receive circumcision and 2,246 had their circumcision delayed for 24 months. The researchers followed-up both sets of men at six, 12 and 24 months and then compared the information on sexual desire, satisfaction and sexual performance for the circumcised men and the control group. The results indicated that:

  • 98.6 per cent of the circumcised men reported no problems in penetration, compared with 99.4 per cent of the control group.
  • 99.4 per cent of the circumcised men reported no pain on intercourse, compared with 98.8 per cent of the control group.
  • Sexual satisfaction was more or less constant in the circumcision group - 98.5 per cent on enrolment and 98.4 per cent after two years - but rose slightly from 98 per cent to 99.9 per cent in the control group.
  • At the six-month visit there was a small, but statistically significant, difference in problems with penetration and pain among the circumcised group, but this was temporary and was not reported at subsequent follow-up visits.

"Our study clearly shows that being circumcised did not have an adverse effect on the men who underwent the procedure when we compared them with the men who had not yet received surgery," noted Professor Gray. "We believe that these findings are very important as they can be used to support public health messages that promote circumcision as an effective way of reducing HIV transmission."

Related articles:
Circumcision Study Confirms Loss Of Penile Sensitivity
HIV And Circumcision
The Case For Penis Pruning
Foreskin Appears To Harbor HIV
More Evidence That Circumcision Reduces Risk of HIV

Source: BJU International

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