Postcoital penile washing and the risk of HIV acquisition in uncircumcised men

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Postcoital genital washing by uncircumcised men may affect the risk of male HIV acquisition.


We assessed the association between self-reported washing after sex in 2976 initially HIV-negative, uncircumcised men enrolled in a prospective cohort study in Rakai, Uganda.


Data from the 2976 participants who reported sexual intercourse in the past 12 months contributed 4290 visits, with 7316.6 person-years of observation during the 2-year follow-up. The overall HIV-incidence was 1.28/100 person-years 95%CI (1.04–1.57). About 91.0% of men reported washing their penis after sex, and their HIV incidence was 1.34/100 person-years (95%CI 1.08–1.66), compared with an incidence of 0.62/100 person-years (95%CI 0.17–1.60) in men who did not wash their penis after intercourse. Using Poisson multivariable regression, the adjusted incidence rate ratio of HIV acquisition associated with postcoital washing was 1.94 (95%CI 0.71–5.29).


Postcoital penile washing, as practiced in this rural African population does not afford protection from HIV acquisition among uncircumcised men, and may increase risk.

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