Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 1, 2007

Ministry studying circumcision plan

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:24 am

Star: PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry will study the implications of a World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation for male circumcision to reduce the risk of HIV infection, said Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican.
“We will study it first before recommending it to non-Muslims,” he told The Star when asked if male circumcision would be recommended as part of the HIV/ AIDS Harm Reduction Programme.
“It is a matter of choice. We’ll counsel men and it is their choice. We cannot force this,” he said.
He said the correlation between male circumcision and reduced risk of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases was an accepted fact here.
Experts from WHO and UNAIDS, the UN agency that coordinates the global fight against AIDS, recommended on Thursday that male circumcision now be recognised as an additional important intervention to reduce the risk of heterosexually-acquired HIV infection in men, after strong evidence showed that it reduced their risk by 60%.
The recommendation was based on a conference in which experts discussed three trials – in Kisumu, Kenya; Rakai District, Uganda; and Orange Farm, South Africa – that produced strong evidence of the risk reduction resulting from male circumcision.
The evidence supports the findings of numerous observational studies that had suggested geographical correlation between lower HIV prevalence and high rates of male circumcision in some countries in Africa.
Currently, an estimated 665 million men, or 30% of men worldwide, are circumcised, said WHO.
“Being able to recommend an additional HIV prevention method is a significant step towards getting ahead of this epidemic,” said UNAIDS associate director Catherine Hankins.
“However, we must be clear that male circumcision does not provide complete protection against HIV. Men and women who consider male circumcision as an HIV preventive method must continue to use other forms of protection such as male and female condoms, delaying sexual debut and reducing the number of sexual partners,” she said.

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