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Can penile circumcision affect the risk of sexually transmitted infections in the partner?

Penile circumcision has been associated with a reduced risk of certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in male partners, particularly in relation to human papillomavirus (HPV) transmission and acquisition. However, the impact of circumcision on STI transmission to female partners is complex and influenced by multiple factors. Here’s what is known:

1. HPV and Female Partners:

  • Some research suggests that male circumcision may be associated with a lower risk of HPV transmission to female partners. HPV is a common STI that can lead to genital warts and is linked to the development of cervical cancer in women.
  • Circumcision removes cells under the foreskin that are susceptible to HPV infection, which may contribute to the reduced risk of transmission.

2. Other STIs:

  • While circumcision might have some protective effects against certain STIs, it’s important to note that it does not eliminate the risk of transmission of other STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV.
  • Condom use and other safe sex practices remain crucial for preventing the spread of STIs to both male and female partners.

3. Comprehensive Prevention:

  • While circumcision might offer some level of protection against specific STIs, it is just one component of comprehensive STI prevention strategies. Regular STI testing, proper condom use, and communication with sexual partners are important aspects of STI prevention.

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