Bioscience

Circumcision associated with significant changes in bacteria

January 5, 2010

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: TGen] – Circumcision, which substantially lowers HIV risk in men, also dramatically changes the bacterial communities of the penis, according to a study led by scientists at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Johns Hopkins University and published Jan. 6 in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

And these bacterial changes may also be associated with earlier observations that women whose male partners are circumcised are less likely to develop bacterial vaginosis, an imbalance between good and harmful bacteria.

The study – The Effects of Circumcision on the Penis Microbiome – could lead to new non-surgical HIV preventative strategies for the estimated 70 percent of men worldwide (more than 2 billion) who, because of religious or cultural beliefs, or logistic or financial barriers, are not likely to become circumcised.

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