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Randomized, Controlled Intervention Trial of Male Circumcision for Reduction of HIV Infection Risk: The ANRS 1265 Trial

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      Observational studies suggest that male circumcision may provide protection against HIV-1 infection. A randomized, controlled intervention trial was conducted in a general population of South Africa to test this hypothesis.

      Methods and Findings

      A total of 3,274 uncircumcised men, aged 18–24 y, were randomized to a control or an intervention group with follow-up visits at months 3, 12, and 21. Male circumcision was offered to the intervention group immediately after randomization and to the control group at the end of the follow-up. The grouped censored data were analyzed in intention-to-treat, univariate and multivariate, analyses, using piecewise exponential, proportional hazards models. Rate ratios (RR) of HIV incidence were determined with 95% CI. Protection against HIV infection was calculated as 1 − RR. The trial was stopped at the interim analysis, and the mean (interquartile range) follow-up was 18.1 mo (13.0–21.0) when the data were analyzed. There were 20 HIV infections (incidence rate = 0.85 per 100 person-years) in the intervention group and 49 (2.1 per 100 person-years) in the control group, corresponding to an RR of 0.40 (95% CI: 0.24%–0.68%; p < 0.001). This RR corresponds to a protection of 60% (95% CI: 32%–76%). When controlling for behavioural factors, including sexual behaviour that increased slightly in the intervention group, condom use, and health-seeking behaviour, the protection was of 61% (95% CI: 34%–77%).


      Male circumcision provides a degree of protection against acquiring HIV infection, equivalent to what a vaccine of high efficacy would have achieved. Male circumcision may provide an important way of reducing the spread of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa. (Preliminary and partial results were presented at the International AIDS Society 2005 Conference, on 26 July 2005, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.)


      The first trial of male circumcision for reducing the risk of HIV finds significantly lower new cases in the treatment group.

      Related collections

      Most cited references 35

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      Male circumcision and risk of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

      To systematically review studies of male circumcision and the risk of HIV-1 infection in men in sub-Saharan Africa, and to summarize the findings in a meta-analysis. A meta-analysis of observational studies. A systematic literature review was carried out of studies published up to April 1999 that included circumcision as a risk factor for HIV-1 infection among men in sub-Saharan Africa. A random effects meta-analysis was used to calculate a pooled relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) for all studies combined, and stratified by type of study population. Further analyses were conducted among those studies that adjusted for potential confounding factors. Twenty-seven studies were included. Of these, 21 showed a reduced risk of HIV among circumcised men, being approximately half that in uncircumcised men (crude RR = 0.52, CI 0.40-0.68). In 15 studies that adjusted for potential confounding factors, the association was even stronger (adjusted RR = 0.42, CI 0.34-0.54). The association was stronger among men at high risk of HIV (crude RR = 0.27; adjusted RR = 0.29, CI 0.20-0.41) than among men in general populations (crude RR = 0.93; adjusted RR = 0.56, CI 0.44-0.70). Male circumcision is associated with a significantly reduced risk of HIV infection among men in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly those at high risk of HIV. These results suggest that consideration should be given to the acceptability and feasibility of providing safe services for male circumcision as an additional HIV prevention strategy in areas of Africa where men are not traditionally circumcised.
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        Female to male transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1: risk factors for seroconversion in men.

        To determine the frequency and risk factors for female to male sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), a prospective study was carried out in 422 men who had acquired a sexually transmitted disease (STD) from a group of prostitutes with a prevalence of HIV-1 infection of 85%. The initial seroprevalence of HIV among the men was 12%. 24 of 293 (8.2%) initially seronegative men seroconverted to HIV-1. Newly acquired infection was independently associated with frequent prostitute contact (risk ratio 3.2, 95% confidence interval 1.2-8.1), with the acquisition of genital ulcer disease (risk ratio 4.7, 95% confidence interval 1.3-17.0), and with being uncircumcised (risk ratio 8.2, 95% confidence interval 3.0-23.0). 96% of documented seroconversions occurred in men with one or both of the latter two risk factors. In a subgroup of 73 seronegative men who reported a single prostitute sexual contact, the frequency of HIV-1 infection was 8.2% during 12 weeks of observation. No man without a genital ulcer seroconverted. A cumulative 43% of uncircumcised men who acquired an ulcer seroconverted to HIV-1 after a single sexual exposure. These data indicate an extremely high rate of female to male transmission of HIV-1 in the presence of STD and confirm a causal relation between lack of male circumcision, genital ulcer disease, and susceptibility to HIV-1 infection.
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          The analysis of rates using Poisson regression models.

           E L Frome (1983)
          Models are considered in which the underlying rate at which events occur can be represented by a regression function that describes the relation between the predictor variables and the unknown parameters. Estimates of the parameters can be obtained by means of iteratively reweighted least squares (IRLS). When the events of interest follow the Poisson distribution, the IRLS algorithm is equivalent to using the method of scoring to obtain maximum likelihood (ML) estimates. The general Poisson regression models include log-linear, quasilinear and intrinsically nonlinear models. The approach considered enables one to concentrate on describing the relation between the dependent variable and the predictor variables through the regression model. Standard statistical packages that support IRLS can then be used to obtain ML estimates, their asymptotic covariance matrix, and diagnostic measures that can be used to aid the analyst in detecting outlying responses and extreme points in the model space. Applications of these methods to epidemiologic follow-up studies with the data organized into a life-table type of format are discussed. The method is illustrated by using a nonlinear model, derived from the multistage theory of carcinogenesis, to analyze lung cancer death rates among British physicians who were regular cigarette smokers.

            Author and article information

            1Hôpital Ambroise-Paré, Assitance Publique—Hôpitaux de Paris, Boulogne, France,
            2INSERM U 687, Saint-Maurice, France,
            3University Versailles Saint-Quentin, Versailles, France,
            4IFR 69, Villejuif, France,
            5Progressus, Johannesburg, South Africa,
            6National Institute for Communicable Disease, Johannesburg, South Africa
            simpleSan Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, California United States of America.
            Author notes
            * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: bertran.auvert@

            Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

            Author Contributions: BA designed the study with DT, EL, and AP. DT and AP were responsible for operational aspects, including laboratory and field work and in-country administration of the study. BA monitored the study with input from EL and wrote the paper with input from all authors. BA analyzed the data with RS, with inputs from JST. RS conducted the interim analysis.

            Role: Academic Editor
            PLoS Med
            PLoS Medicine
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
            November 2005
            25 October 2005
            : 2
            : 11
            (Academic Editor)
            Copyright: © 2005 Auvert et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
            Research Article
            Infectious Diseases
            Epidemiology/Public Health
            Health Policy
            Sexual Health
            Infectious Diseases
            HIV Infection/AIDS
            Sexually Transmitted Infections - Other than HIV/AIDS
            Medicine in Developing Countries



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