World AIDS Day: Bacteria Present In Foreskin Of The Penis Can Increase The Risk Of HIV
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As if the male anatomy wasn’t complicated enough, now study notes that heterosexual uncircumcised men may attract more HIV cells than their circumcised counterparts. These cells can prove dangerous as they open up more ways for the AIDS virus to gain access to a healthy body.As if sex wasn’t already riddled with anxieties for a lot of people, now there is new research to suggest that bacteria housed in the foreskin of the penis could increase one’s susceptibility to HIV, and could be transmitted from one partner to another during sex. The study, which was recently published in mBio, focuses on the foreskin and talks of the quantity and type of bacteria housed there that can create problems.
According to the study, in heterosexual men who are uncircumcised, sometimes, there is a profusion of CD4T cells, which then attract HIV cells that are trying to enter the body. These cells can prove dangerous as they open up more ways for the AIDS virus to gain access to a healthy body. An “imbalance in the microbiome that compromises health” puts the body at higher risk of HIV-AIDS.
Crux of the study
The researchers carried out the study by monitoring 182 uncircumcised men between the ages of 15 and 50 in Uganda, Africa, over a period of 2 years. Every few months, samples of bacteria from these men’s penile foreskin was collected and analysed. One fourth of these men, or 46 of them, contracted HIV in this time period, and these very men were the ones with the highest bacteria in the penis’ foreskin. When these same individuals went on to have unprotected sex, they passed on these bacteria to their partners, who then became high-risk individuals. In this case, circumcision seems to be the way out, with less bacteria attaching itself to the penis if the foreskin is missing.
The study also notes that, “Having 10 times more Prevotella, Dialister, Finegoldia, and Peptoniphilus bacteria raised the risk of contracting HIV by 54 to 63 per cent after controlling for other factors that might affect risk, such as condom use habits and number of sexual partners.”
So it might make sense to give your foreskin a snip, and keep both bacteria and the risk of HIV at bay, especially if you are engaging in unprotected sex and want to keep yourself and your partner safe!