Mass circumcision drive in Rwanda to curb HIV

Rwanda aims to non-surgically circumcise 700,000 adult men by 2016 as part of strategy to achieve AIDS-free generation.

    Mass circumcision drive in Rwanda to curb HIV
    Around 210,000 people are living with HIV in Rwanda [EPA]

    Rwanda has launched a national drive to "non-surgically" circumcise 700,000 men in a bid to cut rates of HIV infection, claiming to be the first country in the world to do so.

    The health ministry said it "aims to circumcise 700,000 adult men between ages 15-49" by the end of 2016.

    "Studies have shown that circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV/AIDS infection by roughly 60 per cent," the health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that "male circumcision is one of the key strategies to achieving an AIDS-free generation."

    Around 210,000 people are living with HIV in the tiny central African country.

    Non-surgical circumcision involves a plastic device called PrePex comprising two rings and an elastic band that cuts off blood supply to the foreskin, which shrivels and is removed with the band after a week.

    Bloodless procedure

    Minister of Health Agnes Binagwaho said it had been "clinically validated as a bloodless procedure that doesn't necessitate injected anaesthesia".

    "Rwanda is the first country to launch non-surgical adult male circumcision with an aim of reducing HIV infection," Binagwaho said at the launch of the project, which is backed by the World Health Organisation.

    The makers of PrePex boast that a man "can resume work and almost all daily activities shortly after the procedure", with the device "designed to be placed, worn, and removed with minimal disruption", although they should abstain from sex for six weeks afterwards.

    The device takes only five minutes to apply. Tzameret Fuerst, president of PrePex, described it as "a very simple procedure that any nurse can conduct."

    Rwanda's adult HIV rate of 2.9 per cent is already quite low compared to some other African nations.

    As well as Rwanda, the PrePex device is already also being used in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    Why America's Russia hysteria is dangerous

    The US exaggerating and obsessing about foreign threats seems quite similar to what is happening in Russia.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months