Circumcision May Stop 1.4 Million South Africa HIV Cases
December 27, 2006
Widespread circumcision could prevent about 1.4 million new HIV infections and 800,000 AIDS deaths over 20 years in South Africa, prompting a research group to call for a national circumcision campaign to help stem the country's epidemic. Recent studies showing circumcision confers an up to 60 percent reduction in HIV transmission risk indicate it is time to consider a country-wide program, South African Center for Epidemiological Modeling and Analysis (SACEMA) said.
"South Africa stands to benefit more than any other country from male circumcision by virtue of the very high current HIV prevalence and the relatively low rate of circumcision in the country," SACEMA said.
Data from South Africa, along with studies in Uganda and Kenya published this month, show circumcision is protective against HIV. Researchers warn against the perception that circumcision is a panacea, insisting that condom use, reducing the number of sex partners and other prevention measures be continued.
South Africa's Health Ministry is cautiously reviewing the studies.
"SACEMA is keen to assist wherever possible to support operational research to investigate the feasibility, acceptability and safety of large-scale male circumcision in South Africa," the agency, which participated in the South African study, said in a statement.
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