Male circumcision reduces penile hpv incidence and persistence: A randomized controlled trial in Kenya

Jennifer S. Smith*, Danielle M. Backes, Michael G. Hudgens, Wenwen Mei, Hrishikesh Chakraborty, Eliane Rohner, Stephen Moses, Kawango Agot, Chris J. L. M. Meijer, Robert C. Bailey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Male circumcision reduces the risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection in men. We assessed the effect of male circumcision on the incidence and natural history of human papillomavirus (HPV) in a randomized clinical trial in Kisumu, Kenya. Methods: Sexually active, 18- to 24-year-old men provided penile exfoliated cells for HPV DNA testing every 6 months for 2 years. HPV DNA was detected via GP5þ/6þ PCR in glans/coronal sulcus and in shaft samples. HPV incidence and persistence were assessed by intent-to-treat analyses. Results: A total of 2,193 men participated (1,096 randomized to circumcision; 1,097 controls). HPV prevalence was 50% at baseline for both groups and dropped to 23.7% at 24 months in the circumcision group, and 41.0% in control group. Incident infection of any HPV type over 24 months was lower among men in the circumcision group than in the control group [HR ¼ 0.61; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.52-0.72]. Clearance rate of any HPV infection over 24 months was higher in the circumcision group than in the control group (HR ¼ 1.87; 95% CI, 1.49-2.34). Lower HPV point-prevalence, lower HPV incidence, and higher HPV clearance in the circumcision group were observed in glans but not in shaft samples. Conclusion: Male circumcision reduced the risk of HPV acquisition and reinfection, and increased HPV clearance in the glans. Impact: Providing voluntary, safe, and affordable male circumcision should help reduce HPV infections in men, and consequently, HPV-associated disease in their partners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1139-1148
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

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