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Male circumcision and reducing HIV transmission

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Africa, Health

I thought better of getting out my digital camera to take a picture to illustrate this blog post! However, I have found a really good website.

Festus Mogae (public domain White House photo by Eric Draper, 2005)
Festus Mogae (public domain White House photo by Eric Draper, 2005)

The Champions for an HIV-FREE generation visited Mozambique recently. My friend, Mauricio Cysne, the head of UNAIDS here in Mozambique accompanied the team and thought the team's visit had a significant impact. The champions were led by former President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, and the team also included former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano.  Professor Miriam Were, chairperson of the Kenyan National Aids Control Council also came. I know Miriam from our time together on the Board of the Global Health Workforce Alliance - she is a fantastic champion for civil society's role in the national response to HIV/AIDS, and also a great supporter of the need to increase numbers of well trained and support health workers.

A key quote came from Festus Mogae, when he stated:

"We believe there is incontrovertible evidence that male circumcision helps to reduce the chances of HIV transmission"

and that

"It has been demonstrated in Mozambique and in other countries that areas with high prevalence of male circumcision show lower prevalence of HIV".

Male Circumcision Clearinghouse website
Male Circumcision Clearinghouse website

The evidence for male circumcision has now been gathered together through a 'clearinghouse' website - which is building up a data base of evidence supporting male circumcision as part of national strategies to combat HIV/AIDS in high prevalence countries. The website is well worth visiting.

Mozambique is currently considering what its response should be to the growing evidence that circumcision would considerably reduce the risk of men becoming infected. As yet however, there is no evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of an infected man transmitting HIV to his partner. Barrier methods of contraception (condoms), reducing multiple concurrent partnerships and delaying the age of first sexual contact, as well as counselling and testing will therefore remain as important as ever for prevention. However, in a country where HIV prevalence is 16%, with prevalence amongst sexually active age groups rising to 38% in some provinces - Mozambique needs as many tools in its prevention armoury as it can find.

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