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

AFRICA: Circumcisions to Help Prevent AIDS Are on the Rise


New York Times (12.02.2013)

The New York Times reported that a Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) campaign for voluntary male circumcision to prevent HIV transmission has been increasingly successful in eastern and southern Africa. UNAIDS stated that approximately 3.2 million African men have had voluntary circumcision since 2007; UNAIDS’s 2015 goal called for 20 million men to have voluntary circumcision. Studies have demonstrated that circumcision lowered the HIV infection risk by approximately 60 percent. HIV testing, offered before circumcision, was another component of the campaign. CDC reviewed data from 536,000 male circumcision surgeries carried out in 2012 in 1,600 sites in nine African countries and found complications in fewer than 1 percent of cases. The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief has funded approximately 2 million voluntary male circumcisions. Rwanda also planned to circumcise 700,000 men using PrePex, a “rapid, bloodless, and anesthesia-free method that uses an elastic band.” CDC has recommended circumcision for uninfected heterosexual men who live in a country with HIV prevalence higher than 1 percent. Circumcision also protected against other STDs, including human papillomavirus, which could cause cervical cancer in women. News reports have confirmed that African women believed circumcised men were “cleaner” and “safer,” a perspective supported by health ministry campaigns. Circumcision did not offer HIV transmission protection for men who had receptive anal sex with other men.


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Information in this article was accurate in December 4, 2013. 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.