the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, new findings show that male
circumcision efforts are lacking in Africa, despite evidence the procedure
helps reduce the risk of HIV infection.
Services International says years of research show that male circumcision can
cut the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men by up to 70 percent. It says
making the procedure more widely available in sub-Saharan Africa could prevent
about two million infections over the next ten years. What's more, it says, it
could save as many as four million lives over the next 20 years. Male
circumcision is the removal of some or all of the foreskin of the penis.
Joseph is the acting director of the HIV department at Population Services
International, or PSI.
the organization that I work for, has a few projects now in South Africa,
Zambia and Swaziland. And we see that there's a lot of demand for services.
There's not enough supply. We're calling on the international community and
donors and stakeholders to scale up access to male circumcision," she says.
explains why male circumcision reduces the risk of infection.
are cells underneath the foreskin, Langerhans cells, that are susceptible to
HIV and other sexually transmitted infections as well. And that's what creates
the increased susceptibility for men who are not circumcised," she says.
says while it's best to do male circumcision shortly after birth, the PSI
projects target certain age groups.
target groups right now are 13 to 29. And that's what we found according to the
mathematical modeling will have the greatest impact on the epidemic. Really
we're seeing probably a little bit older, 16 to 30. It's easier, obviously, to
circumcise men before they become sexually active. So, we're really trying to
target adolescent men before they become sexually active," she says.
the procedure is done, men are given counseling about circumcision and safe
sex, followed by a physical exam and HIV testing. The procedure is done under
local anesthetic and takes less than 30 minutes. Recovery time takes several
PSI says there's enough information available now
about male circumcision to dispel fears about safety, increasing risky behavior
and cultural and religious sensitivities.