Uncircumcised men and men with genital warts from venereal disease are at increased risk of infection with the AIDS virus, according to the first published study of risk factors for AIDS virus infection among men in sub-Saharan Africa.
The study, published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that genital ulcers may create an entry point for the virus during heterosexual sex, and an intact foreskin may increase the chance of virus survival and penetration into the body.
Dr. J. Neil Simonsen, principal author of the study, said the findings suggest that public health officials in the United States and abroad should make extra efforts to control the spread of diseases that cause genital ulcers. Those include chancroid, herpes and syphilis.
But Simonsen said in an interview that the link between circumcision and infection must be studied before reconsidering current circumcision practices. He said African sexual practices differ too widely from those in the United States to extrapolate from the African situation.