Rwanda to Urge Male Circumcision in AIDS Fight
September 28, 2007
Today, a senior Health Ministry official said Rwanda will launch a program to encourage voluntary male circumcision in a bid to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Recent figures show Rwanda has an HIV/AIDS prevalence of 3 percent, relatively low compared to neighboring countries. Studies conducted in Africa have found circumcision can reduce female-to-male HIV transmission by 60 percent. According to a UN survey carried out last year, just one in five Rwandan men is circumcised.
"We want to embark on a sensitization campaign to have males in our country circumcised as one way of combating HIV/AIDS," said Anita Asiimwe, managing director of the ministry's Treatment and Research AIDS Center. "But we don't want to confuse our people to replace circumcision for other preventive measures like the use of a condom and abstinence," she said. "It is just coming as an addition."
Prior to launching a countrywide campaign, the government will train health workers in performing the procedure. "We want to channel it right from the major hospitals down to the health centers so that access for every willing male is provided," said Asiimwe.