New York, US (PANA) - The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), on Thursday
welcomed new data that provides further evidence that male circumcision is effective in preventing HIV in men.
UNAIDS said the study, which was carried out in the township of Orange Farm in South Africa, showed a 55 per cent reduction in HIV prevalence and a 76 per cent reduction in HIV incidence in circumcised men.
PANA learnt that the results were announced Wednesday at a conference in Rome, Italy.
"It is the first time a study has shown that a roll-out of male circumcision procedures is effective at the community level in preventing HIV," the agency noted.
It, however, stressed that, "there is still no single method that fully protects against HIV," adding that, "to reach UNAIDS vision of zero new HIV infections, UNAIDS strongly recommends a combination of HIV prevention options.
"These include correct and consistent use of male and female condoms, waiting longer before having sex for the first time, having fewer partners, medical male circumcision, avoiding penetrative sex and ensuring that as many people as possible in need of antiretroviral therapy have access to it,” the agency stated.
The statement also quoted UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe, as saying that "science is proving that we are at the tipping point of the epidemic and urgent action is now needed to close the gap between science and implementation, to reach the millions of people who are waiting for these discoveries."
He also stated: "Scaling up voluntary medical male circumcision services rapidly to young men in high HIV prevalence settings will help reach the 2015 goal of reducing sexual transmission of HIV by 50 per cent.”
The statement disclosed that during the study, free circumcision services offered to all men over 15 years of age resulted in 20,000 circumcisions over a three-year period in Orange Farm, which has around 110,000 inhabitants.
UNAIDS pointed out that many African countries were strongly supporting the scale-up of male circumcision, adding that Kenya had taken the lead, providing voluntary male circumcision to 290,000 men over the past three years, mostly in the province of Nyanza.
"In Tanzania, where the government announced plans to circumcise at least 2.8 million men and boys between the ages of 10 and 34 over a five-year period, a rapid results campaign in early 2011 saw more than 10,000 boys and men circumcised over six weeks,'' it stated.
The agency further said that the government of Swaziland, which has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world at 26 per cent of adults aged 15 to 49 years, has recently launched a plan to provide voluntary medical male circumcision to the 152,800 men in that age bracket.
-0- PANA AA/BOS 21July2011