Women with circumcised partners are likely to experience better sex and are at lower risk of contracting HIV, say researchers.
The study showed that circumcision was associated with decreased prevalence of herpes simplex virus in all women, lower rates of HIV in younger women and fewer incidents of syphilis in older women.
The study, Association Between HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections and Partner Circumcision Among Women in South Africa, enrolled 4,766 female participants.
Dr Ayesha Kharsany presented the findings at the 9th International Aids Society on HIV Science in Paris, France, last week.
Dr Kharsany, of the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa. said with circumcision, female partners receive some protection indirectly because of lower prevalence of infection among men.
“When a man is circumcised, he provides community level protection against HIV and some other STIs among women,” said Dr Kharsany.
Previous research has shown that circumcision partially protects men from acquiring HIV and some STIs through heterosexual intercourse.
READ: Male circumcision lowers HIV risk for women
Another study presented at the conference suggested that regular sex partners of circumcised men enjoy sex more and improved sexual health.
The 155 women also reported that they could be engaged more to promote voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC).
“The process serves as an effective HIV prevention strategy in high prevalence areas,” said Dr Stockton Mayer, who presented the findings.
The single arm clinical trial reported in the Dominican Republic showed high acceptability of VMMC in sex partners of circumcised men.
“Women who reported vaginal and urinary symptoms prior to their partner’s circumcision reported a substantial decrease in the symptoms after circumcision,” said the report.
A majority of women were satisfied with their circumcised partner’s hygiene and a majority, 70 per cent, felt more protected against HIV and STIs.
“Almost all women had recommended the procedure to other couples and focus group data confirmed high levels of acceptability and satisfaction due to perceived improvements in their sex life and health,” said Dr Mayer.
Rite of passage has proved to be a powerful weapon in the fight against HIV.