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Dave over at has posted a story about an interesting piece of data buried in a paper recently published in the Lancet which was discussing the data gathered during the failed Merck HIV-1 vaccine trial. You all may remember this one as at least a few headlines pointed out that the vaccine apparently increased the risk for intact men.

Anyway the most interesting thing is in Table 4, Hazard ratios of HIV infection for male subgroups, defined by demographic and baseline behavioural risk factors (univariate Cox model analyses), column three and four showed the HIV infection rate per year as a percent for vaccine recipients and placebo recipients. The result, those intact men receiving the placebo had an infection rate of 1.4% per year. Circumcised men receiving the placebo had an infection rate of 4.2% per year. Yep you read that right 1.4% vs 4.2% for intact vs circumcised men respectively. Incidentally, the rate of infection in the vaccine group was 5.2 vs 4.1 in the intact group vs the circumcised group. So the risk for intact men did indeed go up but just look at the placebo numbers and nobody bothered to point that out.
I'll have to read this and think about it but I wanted to get it out there to you folks.

You can find a link to the paper at

ETA: I know one of our members here forward it to Dave so thanks.

ETAA: Two things immediately jump out at me. First, the trials were held in North and South America, the Caribbean, and Australia. Also the percentage of North Americans infected per year was 4.0 vs 1.1 for other sites. And we know what they do in North America.
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