A day in an HIV clinic

Researchers say circumcision can protect against HIV infection

Researchers say circumcision can protect against HIV infection

Augustine Philip "faces the sword"

Augustine Philip "faces the sword"

I spent a day earlier this month in a male circumcision clinic run by an NGO in Katito, a village outside Kisumu in western Kenya. That day, 14 men and boys were circumcised.

Many public health researchers, the World Health Organization and now government health centers have declared — after clinical research found convincing protective effects — that male circumcision is a viable protection from HIV.

Some skeptics note that low circumcision numbers in Europe and some African countries haven’t necessarily translated into high HIV prevalence. And obviously, circumcision isn’t a failsafe, and counselors at the clinic repeatedly stressed that condom use and safe sex in general remained necessary precautions.

But clinical trials in Uganda, South Africa and Kenya found that removal of foreskin reduces the chance of reception of the virus by as much as 60 percent, all other factors being equal. Those findings have had international donors sending money toward circumcision programs the world over, and particularly in Africa.

I’m in final write-through of this story and am working to sell it; consider this a teaser. There will be more photos and video to come.

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2 Responses to “A day in an HIV clinic”

  1. Royal Says:
    September 27th, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Just say no to smegma.

  2. marriedgirl Says:
    September 29th, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Would love to know the clinic’s thoughts on female circumcision, and (assuming that it does not prevent HIV reception) what, if anything, they’re doing to either prevent it and/or advertise against it.

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