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The World Health Organization recommends male circumcision as an important element in HIV prevention program in a high-risk heterosexual population. The well-documented benefits of circumcision include reduced rates of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and cervical cancer and chlamydia in female partners. But, there is a concern that circumcision may impair sexual function.
The study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine the official journal of the International Society for Sexual Medicine, in its November 2008 issue however, negates this concern. The new study claims to have found that adult circumcision does not lead to sexual difficulties among men who were already sexually active.
The effects of circumcision on sexual functions were studied in a group consisting of 2,684 men in Kisumu, Kenya between 2002 and 2005. Both groups underwent six detailed evaluations between one month and 24 months after circumcision. More than 99 percent of the men studied reported that they were satisfied with their circumcision, and the majority of men reported both greater penile sensitivity, and easier use of condoms," said lead author John N. Krieger, M.D., of the University of Washington.
Discussing the controversial subject, Irwin Goldstein, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine said, "I am pleased to be able to publish irrefutable evidence that circumcision does not have negative side effects regarding sexual health; rather it is quite the opposite."
Furthermore, the study results showed no significant difference in the frequency of erectile dysfunction, inability to ejaculate, pain during intercourse or lack of pleasure during intercourse. Rather, circumcised men showed progressively higher rates of sexual satisfaction over time.
The findings of the study are considered reassuring by the authors in the view of current efforts to promote male circumcision to prevent HIV infections in some countries, particularly eastern and southern Africa. The authors also expressed that continued evaluation and counseling in HIV and sexually transmitted disease risk reduction remain critical in the crusade against AIDS prevention.