(JTA) – An international research team studying the HIV virus in Africa concluded that male circumcision significantly curbs the spread of all its variants. The six researchers of a study titled “Male Circumcision and the Epidemic Emergence of HIV-2 in West Africa” published their findings last month in the scientific journal PLOS, the IPS news agency reported Monday, Jan. 23.
Two studies demonstrated a strong correlation between HIV-1 prevalence in the late 1980s and male circumcision in Africa. Other studies replicated these findings for most developing countries of the world. The study reaffirming the benefits of male circumcision comes amid an ongoing debate in Europe on whether the custom, when performed for religious reasons on boys younger than 18, constitutes a violation on their rights. Many opponents of the custom argue it carries no medical benefits.
In 2008, the Danish Health Ministry’s research institute, SSI, published a study arguing male circumcision severely diminished sexual pleasure and created health risks without offering any benefits. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics said in 2012 that the benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks, citing its reducing the risks of HIV infection, urinary tract infection and penile cancer.