Countries Should ‘Carefully Weigh’ Ability To Add Male Circumcision to HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategies, Letter to Editor Says
Although male circumcision might not be "brain surgery," that "does not mean that it is simple to provide safely in countries with weak public health services," Lyn Messner, an Africa program officer for the International Women's Health Coalition, writes in a New York Times letter to the editor. According to Messner, many health facilities in South Africa are "desperately short of skilled personnel, especially in the urban and rural communities with a high prevalence of" HIV/AIDS. She adds that as "countries decide whether to add male circumcision to their prevention mix, they must carefully weigh their capacity to provide it properly." An additional "worry is that men should abstain from sex for at least four weeks after the surgery," Messner writes, adding, "This seems highly unlikely in the conditions" she has seen in Southern Africa and other areas. "We must remember that this intervention in itself will do nothing to change the harmful behavior patterns -- unprotected sex, coercion and violence -- that are putting people, especially women, at risk" of HIV, Messner concludes (Messner, New York Times, 4/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.