2 February 2010

Kenya: 90,000 Men Get the Cut in HIV Campaign

Nairobi — Some 90,000 men have been circumcised since the government launched the campaign in a bid to contain the spread of HIV.

Many of the men were circumcised during a Rapid Results Initiative drive conducted in Nyanza Province at the end of 2009.

From November 9 to December 20, some 35,000 men were circumcised in the region, according to a Male Circumcision Consortium newsletter.

Kenya is one of 14 sub-Saharan countries that have expanded Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision programmes since ground-breaking Randomised Controlled Trials conducted in Kisumu, South Africa, and Uganda revealed that the procedure reduced men's chances of HIV infection by 60 per cent.

"Kenya was able to get off to a relatively quick start because we had a solid foundation to build on in Kisumu, where the research was conducted. And we've been able to build on that foundation through strong leadership from the government and excellent collaboration among all the government's partners," said Dr Mores Loolpapit of Family Health International.

The consortium, as one of the partners in the government's Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision programme, is conducting research in Nyanza Province to assess the impact of expanding access to the service and to identify the most effective way of delivering the service.

According to the newsletter, seven studies are under way and results are expected over the next three years.

More than 5,000 men in Migori and Rongo districts have been circumcised since the exercise started in October.

Mr Charles Kirui, an official of the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation in the region, said local people had started changing their attitude and accepting circumcision as a way of reducing the spread of HIV and Aids.

The exercise is being conducted by the Family Aids Care and Education Services programme and the Kenya Medical Research Institute under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation.

The National Aids Control Council has released Sh30 million to boost the campaign in Nyanza.

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