Update #3, Wednesday, February 8 from the Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, National Meeting

Conference - February 8, 2006 Transcript

Dr. Eric Daar offers perspectives of interest on topics from the 13th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (held in Denver, Colorado February 5-8, 2006)

This is a report from the final day of the 13th Conference on Rotaviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Denver, Colorado. There were numerous presentations particularly related to complications of antiretroviral therapy and novel and emerging treatments. I will focus on these topics along with select epidemiologic studies.

Circumcision and HIV Transmission

A Plenary presentation by Tom Quinn from the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University provided an overview on the background and rationale for considering the role of male circumcision as a strategy to reduce HIV transmission. He summarized that there are numerous factors that determine the infectiousness of an HIV-infected individual. He commented that person's viral load as well as viral load in genital secretions, along with the presence or absence of circumcision, the stage of their clinical disease, the presence of genital ulcers or other sexually transmitted diseases, cervical pathology, certain other characteristics of a given strain of HIV and even the use of antiretroviral therapy may influence infectiousness. Factors that might increase the risk for someone to acquire HIV include the viral load in blood as well as genital secretions of their sexual partner, the presence or absence of circumcision, genital ulcers, sexually transmitted infections, cervical pathology, as well as genetic factors. He provided some history and perspective on circumcision, including medical benefits such as lower risks of cervical cancer amongst partners of men who have been circumcised as well as a reduced risk of penile cancer and localized infections, both sexual and otherwise in those who have been circumcised.