Point of View: Interpreting and dismissing the relevance of the “wait and wipe” finding from the circumcision studies conducted in Africa

  • P Ndebele
  • S Ruzario
  • R Gutsire-Zinyama


Some of the secondary findings from the circumcision studies conducted in Africa, are both interesting and difficult to explain. This paper focuses on the finding that uncircumcised men who waited for ten minutes after sexual  intercourse and then wiped their penises using a dry cloth, had lower rates of HIV infection compared to those who cleaned using a wet cloth or those who cleaned within three minutes of having intercourse. The paper also focuses on the finding on men who became infected and yet they reported no sexual acts or 100% condom use. Interpretations that have been provided so far in trying to explain these two interesting findings are somewhat inadequate. Because of the inadequate interpretation that has been provided, anti-circumcision lobbyist are presenting the “wait and wipe strategy” as an alternative to circumcision for HIV prevention. In this paper, we argue that waiting for ten minutes and wiping with a dry cloth does not prevent men from becoming infected by HIV. We therefore attempt to present some alternative views.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1995-7262
print ISSN: 1995-7270