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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Nip/Tuck

Woman Has First Face Transplant

The operation lasted several hoursSurgeons in France have carried out the first face transplant, it has been reported.

The woman had lost her nose, lips and chin after being savaged by a dog.

In the controversial operation, tissues, muscles, arteries and veins were taken from a brain-dead donor and attached to the patient's lower face.

Doctors stress the woman will not look like her donor, but nor will she look like she did before the attack - instead she will have a "hybrid" face.

The 38-year-old French patient from the northern French town of Valenciennes underwent extensive counselling before her operation, which is believed to have lasted at least five hours, and which took place at the weekend at a hospital in Amiens.

The French magazine Le Point reports that the tissues, muscles, arteries and veins needed for the transplant were taken from a multi-organ donor in the northern city of Lille, who was brain-dead.

The operations were carried out by a team led by Professor Bernard Devauchelle and Professor Jean Michel Dubernard.

In a statement, the hospital said the woman had been gravely disfigured in the attack in May this year.

She has been unable to speak or eat properly since.

It added that the woman - who wishes to remain anonymous - was in "excellent general health" and said the graft looked normal.

Mr Hutchison, who is chief executive of Saving Faces - the Facial Surgery Research Foundation, warned blood vessels in the donated tissue could clot, the immunosuppressants could fail - and would increase the patient's risk of cancer."

Mr Hutchison added there were ethical and moral issues around donating facial tissue.

"Where donors would come from is one issue that would have to be considered.

"The transplant would have to come from a beating heart donor. So, say your sister was in intensive care, you would have to agree to allow their face to be removed before the ventilator was switched off.

"And there is the possibility that the donor would then carry on breathing."

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'Twice As Many Men' Pay For Sex

Twice as many men said they had paid for sexThe number of men paying women for sex has nearly doubled in a decade, UK research suggests.

Surveys of 11,000 British adults in 1990 and 2000 found the rate increased from one in 20 to nearly one in 10 men.

Rising divorce rates, sex tourism and increasing availability of commercial sex are blamed by the Sexually Transmitted Infections journal.

It warns men's lifestyles put them at risk of catching sex diseases, yet few are getting checked in clinics.

There are more men with money and more women looking for this type of work Lead researcher Dr Helen Ward

Only a fifth had visited a sexual health clinic and even fewer had been tested for HIV.

The UK pledged £27.5m for work around the world today, on World Aids Day.

More than 58,000 are now living with HIV in the UK and 104,155 new cases of chlamydia were reported in 2004, latest figures show.

The study authors, from Imperial and University College London, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the National Centre for Social Research, do not believe the rise in paying for sex is the prime cause for this, but warned it could be a contributing factor.

While women who sell sex in the UK have been targeted by campaigns to promote safer sex and uptake of sexual health checks, on the whole men who pay for sex have not, they said.

And their work shows these men often have other risk factors for STIs including higher numbers of partners in general.

More than a third of the men in the study had 10 or more sexual partners during the previous five years.

Meeting new sexual partners while abroad, including in countries with higher rates of STIs than the UK also increased risk.

The men most likely to pay for sex were single, living in London and aged between 25 and 34.

There was no link with ethnicity or social class, however.

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Circumcision 'reduces HIV risk'

World AIDS Day: Dec 1Circumcision can reduce the rate of HIV infections among heterosexual men by around 60%, a study suggests on World AIDS Day.

Circumcision is thought to help protect against HIV because cells under the foreskin are vulnerable to the virus.

UK experts warned some circumcised men in the study still became infected and condoms offered the best protection.

When the foreskin is removed, the skin on the head of the penis becomes less sensitive and so less likely to bleed, thereby reducing the risk of infection.

Keith Alcorn, of the National Aids Manual, said: "Although this study showed that men who were circumcised were less likely to become infected with HIV, it must be stressed that circumcised men did become infected in this study, and that circumcision does not provide total protection against HIV.

"I don't think that any country will be moving towards promotion of circumcision for HIV prevention on these results alone."

Meanwhile doctors say they want to investigate the case of a British man with HIV who apparently became clear of the virus.

Andrew Stimpson, 25, was diagnosed HIV-positive in 2002 but was found to be negative in October 2003 by Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare NHS Trust.

Mr Stimpson, from London, said he was "one of the luckiest people alive".

The trust said the tests were accurate but had been unable to confirm Scotsman Mr Stimpson's cure because he had declined to undergo further tests.

A statement from the trust said: "This is a rare and complex case. When we became aware of Mr Stimpson's HIV negative test results we offered him further tests to help us investigate and find an explanation for the different results.

"So far Mr Stimpson has declined this offer."

A trust spokeswoman added: "We urge him, for the sake of himself and the HIV community, to come in and get tested.

"If he doesn't feel that he can come to Chelsea and Westminster then he should please go to another HIV specialist."

Writing and photos courtesy of bbc.co.uk news department.

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