Circumcision and Risk of Sexually Transmissible Infections in a Community‐Based Cohort of HIV‐Negative Homosexual Men in Sydney, Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • Circumcision status was examined as an independent risk factor for sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in the Health in Men cohort of homosexual men in Sydney.From 2001 through 2004, 1427 initially human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative men were enrolled and followed up until mid-2007. All participants were offered annual STI testing. The history of STIs was collected at baseline, and information on sexual risk behaviors was collected every 6 months. At annual face-to-face visits, participants reported STI diagnoses received during the previous year.Circumcision was not associated with prevalent or incident herpes simplex virus 1, herpes simplex virus 2, or self-reported genital warts. There was also no independent association of circumcision with incident urethral gonorrhea or chlamydia. Being circumcised was associated with a significantly reduced risk of incident (hazard ratio, 0.35 [95% confidence interval, 0.15-0.84]) but not prevalent (odds ratio, 0.71 [95% confidence interval, 0.35-1.44]) syphilis. The association was somewhat stronger among men who reported predominantly insertive unprotected anal intercourse (hazard ratio, 0.10 [95% confidence interval, 0.01-0.82]).These are the first prospective data obtained from homosexual men to assess circumcision status as a risk factor for STIs. Circumcised men were at reduced risk of incident syphilis but no other prevalent or incident STIs. Circumcision is unlikely to have a substantial public health impact in reducing acquisition of most STIs in homosexual men.


  • Templeton, David J
  • Jin, Fengyi
  • Prestage, Garrett P
  • Donovan, Basil
  • Imrie, John C
  • Kippax, Susan C
  • Cunningham, Phillip H
  • Kaldor, John M
  • Mindel, Adrian
  • Cunningham, Anthony L
  • Grulich, Andrew E

publication date

  • December 15, 2009