Saturday, August 18, 2007

Male circumcision: a new strategy for HIV prevention?

Authors: ; WHO; UNAIDS
Publisher: World Health Organization , 2007

This technical consultation paper from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNAIDS reports that male circumcision has been proven to effectively reduce the transmission of HIV from women to men. However, male circumcision does not provide complete protection against HIV, and it has not been proven to reduce the transmission of the virus from men to women. Circumcision for HIV positive men is not recommended. The paper emphasises that it is important to deliver accurate information about the implications of male circumcision in relation to HIV and that programmes promoting circumcision as a HIV prevention measure should be culturally aware, respectful of human rights and aware of gender issues.

The paper recommends that programmes promoting male circumcision should now be included in the range of HIV prevention strategies but that such programmes should not be seen as a replacement for these existing strategies. These programmes should deliver clear information, aimed at both men and women, emphasising that male circumcision only offers partial protection against HIV. It also recommends that such programmes be targeted to maximise their public health benefit, and in particular programmes should be directed at regions with very high HIV prevalence and low levels of male circumcision.