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Goosby Calls For ‘Extraordinary Resources’ To Be Put Into Male Circumcision To Prevent HIV Infection

Male circumcision is “a highly significant, lifetime intervention” to prevent HIV infection that deserves “extraordinary resources,” U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Ambassador Eric Goosby on Monday told a meeting of 400 army officials from 80 countries in Africa, Eastern Europe and central Asia, Agence France-Presse reports. Studies have shown that male circumcision can significantly reduce the risk of HIV infection, the news agency notes, adding that the U.S. “is sponsoring programs in several African countries with a goal of circumcising four million men by 2013.”

Reaching the goal in some countries will be a challenge, according to AFP, which notes Caroline Ryan of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator’s Office said, “We need the military to take up some of these circumcisions.” However, she noted the surgery requires two to four days of recuperation, meaning time lost from military service, and South African officials raised concerns over how to incorporate the need for surgical conditions into traditional coming-of-age rites, according to the news agency. “Little data exists on HIV rates among soldiers,” as “[f]ew countries are willing to divulge statistics, fearing they will be perceived as weak,” the news agency writes (5/7). The Mozambique News Agency/AllAfrica.com summarizes comments made at the opening session of the conference by Goosby, Mozambican Prime Minister Aires Ali, and U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Leslie Rowe (5/7).