News / Africa

Reducing HIV Risk with Painless Male Circumcision

PrePex device is described as a safe, painless, nonsurgical method to perform circumcision on adult men.
PrePex device is described as a safe, painless, nonsurgical method to perform circumcision on adult men.
Joe DeCapua

Studies have shown that male circumcision greatly reduces the risk of HIV transmission. The World Health Organization is weighing approval of a new device that could make the procedure simple and painless.

The WHO and UNAIDS call male circumcision an important and effective strategy to help slow HIV infections. In a recent report, they said the potential exists to avoid 22 percent of HIV infections by 2025 in 14 countries in eastern and southern Africa.

However, to do that, 80 percent of the men between ages 15 and 49 would have to be circumcised. But if men believe the procedure involves needles, scalpels and pain, there could be a less than enthusiastic response to having it done.

The World Health Organization is now reviewing trial results of a new device call PrePex, which was used to circumcise more than 1,000 men in Rwanda.

“Essentially, it’s a device designed to compress the foreskin using two rings. And that ultimately by squeezing the skin in a very non-painful way the blood supply to the skin begins to go away and the skin dies, which is what we want. And then it’s able to, sort of, fall off,” said Dr. Steven Kaplan, of New York’s Weil Cornell Medical Center, who is a urologist and co-investigator of the PrePex study.

Did he say non painful?

“When blood supply to an area of skin is removed there’s no pain because the nerve fibers also don’t get blood supply. So that’s why patients tolerate it because when you first think about it you say isn’t that going to hurt? And the answer is no, because the blood supply goes away and therefore the pain goes away as well,” he said.

From start to finish, it can take about a week, maybe less. No surgery is involved, no sharp objects.

The beauty of this is that this can be done in almost any environment. Does not require any anesthetic. Does not require any sterile environment. And that’s what we believe will make this very, very useful and adaptable to large communities throughout the world and, here, particularly Africa,” said Kaplan.

Health professionals, not just doctors, can be trained to use PrePex.

Kaplan said it’s long been known that removing the foreskin of the penis brings a number of health benefits.

“Various types of germs, the virus, bacteria, other types of sexually transmitted diseases, are sort of, if you will, hidden, kept under the foreskin because a lot of times it’s not retracted. It’s not well cleaned. It just becomes really almost an empty alleyway where all these bad bugs can hide,” he said.

Good results

Rwandan Health Minister Dr. Agnes Binagwaho praised the PrePex device following the trial in her country.

“So, it was very successful. First of all, it proved that it was safe. It proved that it was efficient and it proved that it was superior to the surgical male circumcision,” she said.

During the trial, men in the PrePex study were kept in the hospital strictly for observation. The minister says men who had the new procedure were laughing and playing. Men who had the surgical procedure were not.

Rwanda’s HIV prevalence rate is 3 percent. But the results of a new survey are expected in about a month. The health minister said the goal is to circumcise about two million men.

“We want to protect our men against the risk of HIV transmission by circumcising them. And, you know, when you protect men you also protect women. You also protect future children of those women,” she said.

Binagwaho said it isn’t just an issue for Rwanda, but for the whole world.

“I think the line of men who want to be circumcised is bigger than the capacity to circumcise. Because for the time being, the official way to circumcise is the surgical circumcision,” she said.

PrePex is being developed by CircMedTech. The company says the device has been cleared for marketing in the European Union and hopes the World Health Organization will give its approval in early 2012.

You May Like

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid