Female Genital Cutting and HIV Transmission: Is There an Association?

American Journal of Reproductive Immunology. Article first published online: 13 OCT 2012. DOI: 10.1111/aji.12028

Female Genital Cutting and HIV Transmission: Is There an Association?

Diouf K, Nour N


Female Genital Cutting (FGC) refers to the practice of surgically removing all or part of the female external genitalia for non-medical purposes. It is a common practice in many countries in Africa, the Middle East, and to a lesser extent, Asia. Over 130 million women worldwide have undergone this procedure, and over 2 million women and girls are subject to it every year. Various complications have been described, including infection, hemorrhage, genitourinary and obstetric complications, as well as psychological sequelae. Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, a few reports have also described a potentially elevated risk of HIV transmission among women with FGC. In this report, we aim to review the evidence and identify unanswered questions and research gaps regarding a potential association between FGC and HIV transmission.

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