Monday, December 17, 2007

Rwanda: Start Circumcision With Children - UNAIDS

The New Times (Kigali)

James Buyinza and Paulus Kayiggwa

The UNAIDS country programme coordinator, Dr K├ękoura Kourouma, has advised Rwandans to start circumcision with children at a tender age as one of the measures to protect them from acquiring with HIV/Aids.

"If the government plans to implement circumcision, it would be easier and cheaper when it targets children. This would enable the programme to achieve its targeted objectives"

Dr Kourouma said this on Friday at a function that marked the UN Family's World Aids Day cerebrations held at World Food Programme headquarters in Kicukiro District.

He further said that the demand for male circumcision as a method of combating HIV/Aids is likely to increase dramatically due to the prevailing results from two studies, in Kenya and Uganda.

However, he warned that circumcision may reduce the risk of HIV infection but does not provide full protection against spread of the virus, adding that this calls for mass sensitization of people to ensure that they have fully understood the benefits of the circumcision campaign before they can take their children for mass circumcision.

Antoine Semukanya, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Aids Control Commission (CNLS), said that male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV/Aids infection by 60 percent and should be implemented to scale up the fight against the pandemic.

"HIV/Aids has claimed many lives in Africa and Rwanda in particular; every opportunity aimed at reducing its prevalence should therefore be given priority and circumcision is one of them," Semukanya said.

Semukanya urged parents to talk to their children about the dangers of HIV/Aids saying this would avail them with knowledge of how they can protect themselves from the pandemic.

Prevailing data from a cross-section of research institutions since mid-1980s has shown that circumcised men are less prone to HIV infection than the uncircumcised.

Recently, the government of Rwanda recommended circumcision as one of the measures to curb down the spread of HIV/Aids infection.