In recent news, researchers from Uganda and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have found an interesting correlation between circumcision and STDs. After previously discovering that the rate of HIV infection dramatically decreased for the almost 2,000 Ugandan men – from a random group of 4,000 – who underwent circumcision for the study, the same researchers decided to evaluate their samples in regards to three other STDs: herpes, HPV, and syphilis. What they found was that for those who had been circumcised, the rate of herpes decreased by a quarter, HPV decreased by a third, but the rate of syphilis was the same.
Scientists attribute these findings to the fact that the foreskin is a moist, mucosal surface (much like a woman’s vagina), making it a fertile breeding ground for viral infections. By removing the foreskin there may be less risk of viruses sticking to the penis and replicating in its warm, moist environment. I think it’s interesting to note that syphilis, a bacterial infection, is not affected by the removal of foreskin, which means that an uncircumcised penis, though more prone to viral infections, is no more affected by bacteria than a circumcised penis. I am surprised because I thought bacteria would have the same reaction as viruses.