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Circumcision of Men in UNAIDS HIV prevention study
  Sunday, 4th June, 2006
By Vision Reporter
Presented at CROI Feb 2006:
"Are We Ready For Circumcision: The Role of Circumcision as a Potential Preventive Measure to Stop the Spread of HIV Infection" (02/22/06)
UGANDANS are among men in seven African countries to get circumcised as a measure to curb HIV infection. UNAIDS, a UN AIDS body, is carrying out a study in Uganda and Kenya to show that circumcision reduces the risk of contracting HIV by a big margin.
An estimated 8,000 men are involved in the study, whose interim results are expected later this month and could establish use of male circumcision in fighting AIDS.
Five southern African countries hard-hit by the AIDS pandemic have embarked on encouraging men to go for circumcision after a study showed the procedure dramatically reduces the risk of HIV infection.
Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia are in talks with the UNAIDS on making circumcision more accessible to men as part of their HIV prevention efforts, said UNAIDS adviser Tomas Lundstrom.
The strategy followed the results of a three-year study in a South African township that showed that circumcision reduced the risk of contracting HIV by 60%. The study involved some 3,274 men, aged from 18 to 24.
"What we showed was a dramatic effect. Those who were circumcised were protected against acquiring HIV," said Adrian Purven, the deputy director of South Africa's Institute for Communicable Diseases and the principal investigator in the study.
"By removing almost completely the foreskin, you are removing areas where the HIV virus could hide or gain access to the main circulation," he said.
So conclusive were the results that the South African and French researchers conducting the study at Orange Farm township halted it in July for ethical reasons and offered circumcision to all the men taking part.
For many African communities, the procedure is a coming-of-age rite and remains a closely-guarded tradition.
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