Mass Male Circumcision Program To Reduce Spread Of HIV/AIDS

Armen Hareyan's picture

Male Circumcision Program

Rwanda recently announced that it plans to launch a malecircumcision program as a way of reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS andother sexually transmitted infections, the New Times/ reports. A Ministry of Healthdocument said the program initially would target the army, police andhigher education students (Musoni, New Times/, 9/20).

According to final data from two NIH-funded studies -- conducted in Uganda and Kenya and published in the Feb. 23 issue of the journal Lancet-- routine male circumcision could reduce a man's risk of HIV infectionthrough heterosexual sex by 65%. The results of the Uganda and Kenyastudies mirrored similar results of a study conducted in South Africa in 2005. In response to the findings, the World Health Organization and UNAIDS in March recommended the procedure as a way to help reduce transmission of the virus through heterosexual sex (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/7).


InnocentNyaruhirira, Rwanda's HIV/AIDS minister, called on men in the countryto receive the procedure at recommended medical centers from qualifiedmedical workers. The program "would lose meaning if done unethically byjust anyone because the intended goal would be missed since it wouldgive rise to other problems resulting from complications," Nyaruhirirasaid, adding that the health ministry is in the process of upgradingthe equipment in hospitals and health centers to enable them safely toperform the operation.

Nyaruhirira said that circumcision doesnot provide a "green light for promiscuity because it does notguarantee 100% prevention of the virus," adding, "Let no one understandthat once circumcised, men can go ahead and indulge in unprotectedsex."

PEPFAR Support

According to the New Times/, Rwanda will be one of the beneficiaries of the financial assistance from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (New Times/, 9/20). A delegation of U.S. health officials led by HHSSecretary Mike Leavitt last month announced that PEPFAR will providemoney for male circumcision programs in some African countries (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report,8/20). According to a government letter, the PEPFAR team in Rwanda isconsulting with the government, donor agencies and local partners todetermine the most appropriate response for the country concerning malecircumcision programs (New Times/, 9/20).

Reprinted with permission from You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.