Agence France Presse (05.07.12) - Tuesday, May 08, 2012
At a summit on AIDS and the military attended by army officers
from 80 countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, and central Asia,
US officials said male circumcision is the best way to prevent
new HIV infections among troops.
"We believe male circumcision is a highly significant,
lifetime intervention," US Global AIDS Coordinator Eric Goosby
told the 400 delegates gathered in Maputo, Mozambique. "It is
a gift that keeps on giving. It makes a lot of sense to put
extraordinary resources into it."
It is not known how many soldiers worldwide are living with
HIV, as few countries are willing to share such statistics for
fear of being perceived as weak.
Studies indicate circumcision can significantly reduce HIV
transmission. In 2006, trials in Uganda, Kenya, and South
Africa showed the practice more than halved men's risk of
infection. Long-term analysis determined a risk reduction of
about 60 percent. Last year in South Africa, one study found
new infections declined by 76 percent following the launch of
a local circumcision program.
As a result, the United States is supporting circumcision
efforts in several African countries, with the goal of
reaching 4 million men by 2013. While Kenya's program has
almost attained its goal of circumcising 80 percent of
sexually active men, Uganda's effort is faltering with less
than 5 percent of targeted men undergoing the procedure. "We
need the military to take up some of these circumcisions,"
said Caroline Ryan, who works in Goosby's office.