Researchers say that it appears as if circumcision does not help prevent HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM).
This is in stark contrast to multiple studies that have shown that it does have a considerable impact on the transmission of HIV between men and women.
The research was presented on Tuesday at the 2009 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta in the US.
At the conference, Dr. Peter Kilmarx, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that circumcision “is not considered beneficial” in the case of anal sex.
The CDC’s research shows that the infection rate among the 4,889 men sex that it studied who had anal was about the same regardless of whether the men were circumcised or not.
They noted however that the conclusion that there is little difference in infection rate between insertive or receptive circumcised and uncircumcised partners could have been skewed by the fact that 87% of the subjects were circumcised (around 80% of American men are circumcised).
The researchers added: “Additional studies … that include a larger proportion of uncircumcised men may provide a clearer answer as to whether circumcision is associated with lower rates of HIV infection among MSM who engage in insertive anal sex with HIV-infected partners.”