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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

GLOBAL: US Urges Circumcision for Soldiers to Fight HIV in Africa


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.


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Information in this article was accurate in May 8, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.