Male circumcision and risk of HIV infection among heterosexual African American men attending Baltimore sexually transmitted disease clinics

Lee Warner, Khalil G Ghanem, Daniel R. Newman, Maurizio Macaluso, Patrick S. Sullivan, Emily J. Erbelding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. Male circumcision has received international attention as an intervention for reducing HIV infection among high-risk heterosexual men; however, few US studies have evaluated its association with the risk of HIV infection. Methods. We analyzed visit records for heterosexual African American men who underwent HIV testing while attending sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinics in Baltimore, Maryland, from 1993 to 2000. We used multivariable binomial regression to evaluate associations between circumcision and the risk of HIV infection among visits by patients with known and unknown HIV exposure. Results. Overall, 1096 (2.7%) of 40,571 clinic visits yielded positive HIV test results. Among 394 visits by patients with known HIV exposure, circumcision was significantly associated with lower HIV prevalence (10.2% vs. 22.0%; adjusted prevalence rate ratio [PRR], 0.49 [95% confidence interval [CI], 0.26-0.93]). Conversely, among 40,177 visits by patients with unknown HIV exposure, circumcision was not associated with reduced HIV prevalence (2.5% vs. 3.3%; adjusted PRR, 1.00 [95% CI, 0.86-1.15]), and age ≥25 years old and diagnosis of ulcerative STD were associated with increased prevalence. Conclusions. Circumcision was associated with substantially reduced HIV risk in patients with known HIV exposure, suggesting that results of other studies demonstrating reduced HIV risk for circumcision among heterosexual men likely can be generalized to the US context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology and Allergy

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