Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention - Website Launched

The Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention -- www.malecircumcison.org -- was launched yesterday. The Web site is designed to generate and share authoritative information about the role of male circumcision in HIV prevention.

The Clearinghouse was initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC), and Family Health International (FHI).

"The Clearinghouse will serve as a virtual resource that provides a 'one-stop-shop' for the most recent news, research, and resources on the use of male circumcision to prevent HIV," says Dr. Kim Eva Dickson, Medical Officer, HIV Prevention in the Health Sector at WHO in Geneva. "This site will fulfill the needs of the international public health community involved in male circumcision for HIV prevention -- including scientists, civil society groups, policy-makers, health providers, and programme managers."

The Clearinghouse will provide evidence-based guidance to support the delivery of safe male circumcision services as one component in a comprehensive approach to HIV-prevention services. "It will be continually updated with emerging information on country progress in expanding access to safe male circumcision services, including lessons learned in implementation," says Dr. Catherine Hankins, Chief Scientific Adviser to UNAIDS. "Providing access to tools and guidance, the Clearinghouse is an essential Web site aid for all those working on male circumcision for HIV prevention."

Visitors to the Clearinghouse will find:

-- A browsable database of hundreds of scientific abstracts and full-text


-- An inventory of research activities on male circumcision

-- Tools and guidelines for provider training and programme scale-up

-- Evidence-based protocols and guidelines

-- A compendium of better and best practices

-- User-friendly summaries of advocacy issues and civil society engagement

-- An opportunity to sign up for an RSS feed on news related to male


-- A global mechanism for exchanging and integrating information on male

circumcision programmes and associated services


Hugh7 said...

I bet you'll look there in vain for anything about
* the functions of the foreskin, or
* the human rights of males to grow up with all the healthy, non-renewable parts there were born with, or
* the many flaws in the research claiming to show that circumcision prevents HIV.

Take Swaziland - very high HIV rate, low circumcision rate, open and shut case, yes? NO:
HIV rate for circumcised men: 21.8%
HIV rate for non-circumcised men: 19.5%
They've been trying to say that's because the local variety of circumcision doesn't take much skin. But neither did the method they used in two of their trials, and it "prevented HIV" just as much as the other trial. Something is fishy here.

So when they "roll out" their circumcision campaign, don't be too surprised if the HIV rate goes up, just a little.

Mark Lyndon said...

These people are only interested in promoting male circumcision for its own sake (or anything-but-condoms), rather than in fighting AIDS.

There are six African countries where men are more likely to be HIV+ if they've been circumcised: Rwanda, Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, and Tanzania. If circumcision really worked against AIDS, this just wouldn't happen. We now have people calling circumcision a "vaccine" or "invisible condom", and viewing circumcision as an alternative to condoms.

ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful, Condoms) is the way forward. Promoting genital surgery will cost African lives, not save them.

It's not like we haven't already tried the things that do work. In Malawi for instance, only 57% know that condoms protect against HIV/AIDS, and only 68% know that limiting sexual partners protects against HIV/AIDS. There are people who haven't even heard of condoms. It just seems really misguided to be hailing male circumcision as the way forward. It would help if some of the aid donors didn't refuse to fund condom education, or work that involves talking to prostitutes. There are African prostitutes that sleep with 20-50 men a day, and some of them say that hardly any of the men use a condom. If anyone really cares about men, women, and children dying in Africa, surely they'd be focussing on education about safe sex rather than surgery that offers limited protection at best, and runs a high risk of risk compensatory behaviour.

JohnDalton said...

Advocating circumcision in areas where iatrogenic transmission of HIV is rife is recklessly irresponsible. It will cause far more cases of HIV than it will prevent.

Frank said...

Since the site is designed to support male circumcision that means it is biased and should be avoided. The best site to date is www.circumcisionandhiv.com. D. Tinari has strong words against this line of designing studies to support male circumcision. Where these studies originated also showed equal protective effects with female circumcision. If every hiv infected person was on anti-virals the viral loads would be undetectable and the sexual transmissions would be non existant as has been shown in discordant couples. This would wipe out hiv worldwide in a lifetime.

Frank said...

It would be counter productive for www.malecircumcision.org 's purpose to mention the scientific fact Langerhans cell produce Langerin which kills HIV. They may even continue the theory Langerhans cells drags HIV into the body as reported in the African HIV/male circumcision studies. There is no science to back up these studies it is correlative theory. Personally I call it Cargo Cult science.

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