Kampala — Rakai and Lyantonde districts have launched a sh760m male circumcision programme to fight HIV/AIDS.
Lyantonde LC5 chairman Fred Nayebale unveiled the programme at Lyantonde Hospital on Monday.
The three-year pilot project, funded by the US-based Centre for Disease Control, targets males above 13 years.
Dr. Gubala Ssentongo, the district health officer, said the project aims at reducing HIV/AIDS infection by 50% among the local population. "Research conducted in Rakai showed that HIV infection risks can be reduced by 50% if one is circumcised. The approach will save our people," he said.
He said apart from Lyantonde Hospital, the surgeries will also be conducted at a clinic in Kakuuto, Rakai district.
Ssentongo said the clinics are fully equipped with modern equipment to conduct safe circumcision.
However, he expressed concern over the increasing commercial sex trade in Lyantonde, which he attributed to the influx of workers on the Masaka-Kampala highway.
"We have about 500 youthful men working on the Masaka-Lyantonde highway. They camp in Lyantonde after work, attracting prostitutes," he said.
Ssentongo said the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Lyantonde had increased from 13 to 15% due to the commercial sex.
HIV prevalence in Uganda is estimated at 6.4% among adults and 0.7% among children.
The number of new infections (an estimated 111,000 in 2008) exceeds the number of annual AIDS deaths (61,000 in 2008).
It is also feared that HIV prevalence may be rising again.