PloS one 2017 10 1012(10) e0185917 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0185917
Penile coital injuries are one of the suggested mechanisms behind the increased risk of HIV among uncircumcised men. We evaluated the prevalence and correlates of self-reported penile coital injuries in a longitudinal community-based cohort of young (18-24 years old), newly circumcised and uncircumcised men in Western Kenya.
Self-reported penile coital injuries were assessed at baseline, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months of follow-up, and were defined as scratches, cuts or abrasions during sex, penile soreness during sex, and skin of the penis bleeding during sex. Associations between penile coital injuries, circumcision, sexual satisfaction, and other covariates were estimated with mixed effect models.
Between November 2008 and April 2010 3,186 participants were enrolled (1,588 into circumcision group and 1,598 as age-matched controls). Among 2,106 (66%) participants sexually active at baseline, 53% reported any penile injury, including 44% scratches, cuts or abrasions; 32% penile pain/soreness; and 22% penile bleeding. In multivariable modeling, risk was lower for circumcised men than uncircumcised men for scratches, cuts and abrasions (aOR = 0.39; 95% CI 0.34-0.44); penile pain/soreness (aOR = 0.58; 95% CI 0.51-0.65), penile bleeding (aOR = 0.53; 95% CI 0.46-0.62), and any penile coital injuries (aOR = 0.47; 95%CI 0.42-0.53). Other significant risk factors included increasing age, history of STIs and genital sores, and multiple sex partners, while condom use was protective. Coital injuries were significantly associated with lower levels of sexual satisfaction in longitudinal analyses (scratches, cuts or abrasions: aOR = 0.87, 95% CI: 0.76-0.98; penile pain/soreness: aOR = 0.82, 95% CI: 0.72-0.93; and penile bleeding: aOR = 0.65, 95% CI: 0.55-0.76).
Self-reported penile coital injuries were common and decreased significantly following circumcision. Improving sexual experience through the removal of a potential source of sexual discomfort may resonate with many men targeted for circumcision services. The role of penile coital injuries in sexual satisfaction, HIV, HSV-2, and as a motivator for seeking circumcision services should be explored further.