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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More