Circumcision demand expected to grow

July 11, 2006 at 1:29 PM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, July 11 (UPI) -- The World Health Organization predicts demand for male circumcision as a way to prevent HIV/AIDS will soar if results of two African studies prove positive.

The studies were done in Kenya and Uganda last year and their results will not be known until next year.

Meanwhile, public health experts say circumcision may reduce the risk of HIV infection but it does not provide full protection.

A similar study done last year in South Africa had shown circumcision's protective benefits. The WHO wants to know whether the Kenya and Uganda studies will confirm the earlier conclusions.

The report said there are signs the demand for circumcision is growing rapidly especially in Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia.

Health experts say countries in southern Africa with very high HIV prevalence and low circumcision rates and where the spread of HIV is predominantly through heterosexual sex may consider doing similar studies to make male circumcision widely available.

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