“Flagship Intervention:” More than 37,900 Tanzanian Males Circumcised for HIV Prevention in Less than a Year
Earlier this month, more than 13,000 men and boys were circumcised in the Shinyanga region of Tanzania in four districts: Bariadi, Maswa, Kahama, and Shinyanga Municipal. Male circumcision services, which are part of an IntraHealth International-led HIV prevention effort, started in late November 2010 and have now reached more than 37,900 Tanzanian men and boys, surpassing the project’s goals of reaching 25,000 males by September 2011 and 34,000 by December 2011.
The program puts into action recommendations from the World Health Organization, which found that circumcision can reduce a man’s risk of being infected with HIV by a female partner by as much as 60%. Thus far, the boys and men seeking these services have been very accepting of the program—and nearly 100% have also accepted HIV testing and counseling services. Complication rates have been low—about 0.3%, and all complications were treated and resolved. Most clients have been in the 15 to 25-year-old age group and have a low HIV prevalence rate—less than 2%.
“We are really proud of the regional and council health management teams of Shinyanga,” commented Lucy Mphuru, MD, director of IntraHealth’s Provider-Initiated Testing and Counseling Project. “They have been very supportive throughout the program. They have fully participated at each and every step, and that has been invaluable. The local government and village leaders have really been at the forefront, championing this program in their communities.“
In the next few months, the project will expand its services into the remaining four districts in the Shinyanga region and offer male circumcision services at health facilities and through mobile services with a particular focus on reaching men and boys in rural areas and mining settlements, as well as reaching more older men.
The Provider-Initiated Testing and Counseling Project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and led by IntraHealth International.