High demand for male circumcision
CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s male circumcision (MC) research project in Orange Farm outside Johannesburg has circumcised over 9 000 men since January 2008, but are unable to assist men coming from outside their catchment area because of restrictions on the trial conditions.
‘We have clients coming from all over the country with high demand for our services from other areas, but we can’t enroll the men because the research project is restricted to only Orange Farm,’ said Cynthia Nhlapo, Programme Manager of the Bophelo Pele Male Circumcision Centre.
Nhlapo was presenting at a satellite session at the 5th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2009) which ends tonight.
The South Africa government has been consulting for over a year with Deputy Director General Yogan Pillay telling an IAS 2009 meeting earlier this week that the country was busy formulating policy on the intervention which has scientifically shown to offer men 60% protection against HIV infection. An AIDS vaccine offering 60% efficacy would be considered a major breakthrough in the fight against HIV.
Toby Kasper, country representative for the MC project in neighbouring Botswana said they had set a target of conducting 1 000 circumcisions in the first three months of operation, but that they had reached 1 360 within the first two months.
‘Some clinics are booked until the end of the year,’ he said. He said the challenge was to balance between raising knowledge on MC while not overwhelming service delivery facilities.
Chivuli Ukwimi of the Society for Family Health in Zambia said research had shown that the acceptability of male circumcision stood at 80% in the country.
‘The programme received a massive boost when government accepted male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy,’ he said.
Zambia has circumcised 1 500 men via its mobile sites which offer services over weekends while static sites circumcised over 2 000 men.