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Keywords:

  • circumcision;
  • complications;
  • HIV infection;
  • sexually transmitted infections;
  • Africa

In a combined study from the USA and Kenya, the safety of adult male circumcision in the latter country was reviewed, particularly with the purported association between this procedure and a lower incidence of HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections. It was found that safe and acceptable adult male circumcision services could be delivered in developing countries should this be advocated as a public health measure.

OBJECTIVE

To develop a standard procedure for male circumcision in a resource-poor medical setting and prospectively evaluate the outcome in a randomized, controlled trial with the incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as the main outcome, as studies suggest that circumcision is associated with a lower incidence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in high-risk populations.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS

Healthy, uncircumcised, HIV-seronegative men aged 18–24 years from Kisumu District, Kenya, were offered participation in a clinical trial using a standard circumcision procedure based on ‘usual’ medical procedures in Western Kenya. The follow-up included visits at 3, 8 and 30 days after circumcision, with additional visits if necessary. Healing, satisfaction and resumption of activities were assessed at these visits and 3 months from randomization.

RESULTS

Overall, 17 (3.5%) of the 479 circumcisions were associated with adverse events judged definitely, probably or possibly related to the procedure. The most common adverse events were wound infections (1.3%), bleeding (0.8%), and delayed wound healing or suture line disruption (0.8%). After 30 days, 99% of participants reported being very satisfied with the procedure; ≈ 23% reported having had sex and 15% reported that their partners had expressed an opinion, all of whom were very satisfied with the outcome. About 96% of the men resumed normal general activities within the first week after the procedure.

CONCLUSION

Safe and acceptable adult male circumcision services can be delivered in developing countries should male circumcision ultimately be advocated as a public-health measure.