We aimed to assess male circumcision for the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) acquisition in heterosexual and homosexual men using all available data. A systematic literature review was conducted searching for studies that assessed male circumcision as a method to prevent HIV acquisition in homosexual and/or heterosexual men. PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) and ClinicalTrials.gov were searched in March 2017. A random effects model was used to calculate a pooled risk ratio (RR) and its associated 95% confidence interval (CI). In total, 49 studies were included in this meta-analysis. The overall pooled RR for both homosexual and heterosexual men was 0.58 (95% CI 0.48-0.70), suggesting that circumcision was associated with a reduction in HIV risk. Circumcision was found to be protective for both homosexual and heterosexual men (RR: 0.80, 95% CI 0.69-0.92 and 0.28, 95% CI 0.14-0.59, respectively). Heterosexual men had a greater RR reduction (72% compared with 20% for homosexual men). There was significant heterogeneity among the studies (χ2 = 1378.34, df = 48; I2 = 97%). This meta-analysis shows that male circumcision was effective in reducing HIV risk for both heterosexual and homosexual men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-526
Number of pages12
JournalBJU International
Issue number4
Early online date12 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


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