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Sinai infectious disease expert weighs in on new Human papillomavirus study

Posted Apr 01 2009 2:44pm
You'd have to be living under a rock this week to not have heard about a New England Journal of Medicine study that shows circumcised men reduced their risk of infection with HPV, or human papillomavirus, by 35 percent and herpes by 28 percent. The findings have generated great debate over everything from the methodology used and the subjects studied to the more basic question parents of newborn boys face every day: to circumsize or not.

The prevention of human papillomavirus infection and it's complications is of great public health importance, says John Cmar, M.D., an infectious disease specialist here at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. "Circumcision, if proven effective in this regard, would be a simple and low cost method to reduce the spread of HPV and the incidence of new cases of genital warts and cancers in both men and women."

Dr. Cmar notes that neonatal circumcision has always been a subject of some debate, without strong medical evidence for or against it as a practice.

"Studies like this one are important to help define the role of circumcision in preventing the spread of human papillomavirus later in life," he says.

For a thorough look at both sides of the argument, Dr. Cmar recommends checking out Science-Based Medicine's blog.
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