August 23, 2012
Researchers will study a bloodless circumcision device for adult males in at least nine African nations next year, according to reports.
A large study already has established that the device, PrePex, is safer than conventional circumcision surgery. The US Food and Drug Administration approved PrePex in January, and the World Health Organization's approval is expected soon. The new research will evaluate its acceptability to men in each of the study nations and whether there are any regulatory challenges, according to Dr. Jason B. Reed, a technical adviser to the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
To slow the spread of HIV on the continent, health authorities hope to circumcise 20 million men in Africa by 2015.
No surgeon is required to perform circumcision using PrePex. Working together, two nurses slide a grooved ring inside the patient's foreskin, then guide a rubber band to compress the skin into the groove. A week later, the dead skin falls off or can be clipped off painlessly, said PrePex CEO Tzameret Fuerst.
PEPFAR will pay for 2,500 men to be circumcised with PrePex in Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Similar studies in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe -- funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- also will test the Shang Ring, a circumcision device that requires some surgery and an anesthetic injection.