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Title: Decreased incidence of syphilis in both men and women associated with male circumcision: A prospective study among HIV-1 serodiscordant heterosexual African couples
Authors: Pintye, Jillian
Mugo, Nelly
Mujugira, Andrew
Cohen, Craig
Were, Edwin
Bukusi, Elizabeth
Kiarie, James
Keywords: Male circumcision
Serodiscordant heterosexual couples
Syphilis infection
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: NIH Public Access
Abstract: Background Male circumcision is a primary HIV-1 prevention intervention for men. It is uncertain whether male circumcision reduces the risk of syphilis among men and their female partners. Methods Using data from a prospective study among HIV-1 serodiscordant heterosexual couples from Kenya and Uganda, we assessed whether male circumcision was associated with incident syphilis in men and in their female partners. Multivariate Andersen-Gill survival methods were used, adjusted for age, sexual behavior, and plasma HIV-1 RNA levels of the HIV-1 infected partner. Findings 4716 HIV-1 serodiscordant couples (37·5% with an HIV-1 infected male) were followed for a median of 2·75 years. At enrollment, 1575 (53·5%) HIV-1 uninfected and 560 (32·4%) HIV-1 infected men were circumcised; an additional 69 (4·2%) HIV-1 infected and 132 (4·8%) HIV-1 uninfected men became circumcised during study follow up. 221 incident syphilis infections were observed: 46 among HIV-1 infected men (incidence 1·10 per 100 person-years), 76 among HIV-1 uninfected men (1·09 per 100 person-years), 54 among HIV-1 infected women (0·77 per 100 person-years) and 45 among HIV-1 uninfected women (1·11 per 100 person-years). Male circumcision was associated with a 42% reduction in incident syphilis in men (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 0.58 95% CI 0·37–0·91) including a 62% reduction among HIV-1 infected men (aHR 0·38, 95% CI 0·18–0·81) and a non-significant reduction in incident syphilis among HIV-1 uninfected men (aHR 0·64, 95% CI 0·36–1·11). Among women, circumcision of their male partners was associated with a 59% reduction in incident syphilis (aHR 0.41 95% CI 0.25–0.69), including a 75% reduction among HIV-1 uninfected women (aHR 0·25, 95% CI 0·08–0·76) and a 48% reduction among HIV-1 infected women (aHR 0·52, 95% CI 0·27–0·97). Interpretation In this large prospective cohort study among HIV-1 serodiscordant couples, male circumcision was associated with decreased risk of incident syphilis in men and women. If confirmed, these results suggest that medical male circumcision could substantially reduce incidence of syphilis and its sequelae.
Appears in Collections:School of Medicine

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