Call for higher circumcision rate
Circumcision should be routinely considered as a way to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections, argue US experts.
They spoke out after research found circumcision significantly cut the risk of infection with herpes and the cancer-causing human papillomavirus.
Circumcision is known to sharly reduce the risk of HIV infection.
But the study, featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, failed to convince UK experts.
The research, carried out by scientists in Uganda, involved nearly 3,500 men and monitored their sexual activity over a period of up to two years.
The researchers, from Johns Hopkins University, found circumcision reduced the risk of herpes by 25%, and human papillomavirus (HPV) by a third.
HPV causes cervical cancer in women, and genital warts in both sexes.
Circumcision rates have been declining in the US and are lowest among black and Hispanic patients - the groups with the highest rates of HIV, herpes and cervical cancer.
Writing in the journal, Dr Matthew Golden and Dr Judith Wasserheit, from the University of Washington, said: “These new data should prompt a major reassessment of the role of male circumcision not only in HIV prevention but also in the prevention of other sexually transmitted infections.”
Dr Wasserheit went on to say: "All providers who care for pregnant women and infants have a responsibility to assure that mothers and fathers know that circumcision could help protect their sons from the three most common and most serious viral sexually transmitted infections, all of which cannot currently be cured.
The reason why a foreskin might increase the risk of infection with various viruses is unclear.