September 23, 2011

Roshini Raj, MD, Health’s medical editor and coauthor of What the Yuck?!, fields your most personal and provocative questions.

Q: Am I more likely to get an STD from an uncircumcised man?

A: Well, uncircumcised men do have higher rates of infection of certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)—like HIV, herpes, and human papillomavirus (HPV)—than circumcised men, according to research. This may be because the foreskin is more susceptible to tiny tears during sex, which allow more microscopic invaders in, and because the warm, moist environment between the foreskin and the head is especially hospitable to viruses (sexy!). So men with an intact foreskin might be more likely to transmit infections to their partners. Circumcised or not, though, safe sex—as in, using condoms and getting tested regularly—is the key to reducing your risk of getting an STD.

Got an embarrassing question? Send it to Dr. Raj at whattheyuck@health.com.

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