Women partnered with circumcised men have been found to be at lower risk of contracting HIV, according to initial results of a two-year study carried out in Zimbabwe and Uganda released on Sunday.
The study, which was instituted by local medical researchers, is aimed at looking at whether male circumcision decreases the risk of transmission to women, the researchers said.
A total of 4,448 women, 2,248 in Zimbabwe and 2,200 in Uganda, were involved in the study. The women were recruited mainly from family planning clinics, and in Uganda some of the women were those classified as "higher risk" women.
At quarterly visits for up to two years, participants received HIV tests and standardized interviews about their contraceptive and sexual behavior.
The researchers said they use cox proportional hazards modeling to compare time to HIV infection for women with circumcised primary partners to women with uncircumcised primary partners, controlling for sexual behavior and demographic variables. Analytic techniques permitted predictor to change over time.
Recently, a joint United Nations program on HIV also noted with considerable interest results of a trial carried out in Gauteng province in South Africa among men aged between 18 and 24.
Preliminary results of the study showed that circumcision reduced the risk of contracting HIV by 70 percent, a level of protection far better than 30 percent risk reduction set as a target for an AIDS vaccine.