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Circumcision may Prevent HIV
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Previous research has shown circumcised men
are less likely to be infected with HIV, and a new study helps
British researchers examined tissue samples from nine specimens
of human foreskin. They found each sample contained cells expressing
the protein DC-SIGN, which contains receptors that make it easier
for HIV to enter cells, indicating foreskin may play a key role in
Researchers say their study was limited due to a lack of
availability of suitable tissue. They write, "Biopsies of the penis
are rarely taken, and most studies to date have used material from
circumcisions. However, if human tissue were available, population
studies correlating levels of DC-SIGN expression in the penis with
HIV transmission rates could provide crucially important data." They
say these types of studies should be performed in both circumcised
and uncircumcised men.
HIV is a virus that infects and destroys T-cells in the immune
system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
there are between 800,000 and 900,000 people living with HIV.
Authors of the study say their results suggest that the human
foreskin is important in mediating the sexual transmission of HIV.
They conclude, "We suggest that DC-SIGN may contribute to HIV
transmission in the foreskin by enabling the infection of permissive
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SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Pathology, 2004;57:77-78
Last Updated: January 05, 2004