[Special Issue News] The circumcision conundrum

Large-scale studies have proven that medical circumcision, which removes the entire foreskin, reduces the risk of men becoming infected via heterosexual sex by about 60%. But researchers still debate the precise mechanisms that lead to this protection. Investigators are now studying traditional penile cutting in Papua New Guinea, which slits but doesn’t remove the foreskin, for possible clues. Some evidence suggests that traditional cutting may offer some degree of protection, and by conducting experiments with HIV and different types of foreskin in the lab, researchers hope to clarify the factors in foreskins that deter or assist the establishment of an infection. 

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