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Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention Web Site Launched
Date:2/23/2009

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention -- www.malecircumcison.org -- was launched today. 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 articles
  • 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 circumcision
  • A global mechanism for exchanging and integrating information on male circumcision programmes and associated services

Experts from leading institutions around the world have reviewed information on the Clearinghouse including:

AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition

Family Health International

Harvard University School of Public Health

JHPIEGO (Johns Hopkins Program for International Education in Gynecology and Obstetrics)

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

UNAIDS

University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health

World Health Organization

"Circumcising men is among the most promising public health tools to reduce new HIV infections in areas most affected by the epidemic," says Al Siemens, PhD, CEO of FHI. "We are proud to have helped produce such a practical and evidence-based resource for health professionals interested in improving men's access to high-quality male circumcision services as a component of comprehensive HIV-prevention efforts."

The Clearinghouse also features user-friendly, regularly updated pages on advocacy issues that are tools for community stakeholders. "To optimize the benefits of male circumcision for HIV prevention, advocates, activists, community, and grassroots organizations need to be involved every step of the way," says Mitchell Warren, Executive Director of AVAC. "This is an exciting and much-needed resource for sharing information, ideas and approaches to an emerging strategy."

World Health Organization (WHO)

WHO is the coordinating authority for health within the United Nations (UN) system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries, and monitoring and assessing health trends. WHO is the lead organization within the UN system for supporting the scaling up of male circumcision service provision. WHO is working with UNAIDS, UNFPA and UNICEF to assist countries to make evidence-based policy and programme decisions to improve the availability, accessibility and safety of male circumcision and reproductive health services as an integral component of comprehensive HIV prevention strategies. WHO and UN partners use their globally accepted, complementary, normative and convening roles to lead policy setting, develop programme guidance and coordinate research to guide countries in making decisions on implementing and scaling up safe male circumcision services for HIV prevention based on available and emerging evidence. Key WHO materials on male circumcision are available here on the Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention site.

Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

UNAIDS is an innovative joint venture of the United Nations, bringing together the efforts and resources of the UNAIDS Secretariat and ten UN system organizations in the AIDS response. The Secretariat headquarters is in Geneva, Switzerland -- with staff on the ground in more than 80 countries. Coherent action on AIDS by the UN system is coordinated in countries through UN theme groups, and joint programmes on AIDS. UNAIDS' co-sponsors include UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank. UNAIDS led the preparatory UN work plan on male circumcision and supports WHO as the lead for UN implementation support for the introduction or expansion of safe, voluntary male circumcision services. UNAIDS recommends that male circumcision always be considered as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package. Key UNAIDS materials on male circumcision are available here on the Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention site.

AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC)

AVAC is a non-profit, community- and consumer-based organization that uses public education, policy analysis, advocacy and community mobilization to accelerate the ethical development and global delivery of AIDS vaccines and other HIV prevention options. AVAC's participation in the Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention is one component of its ongoing work on increasing informed civil society input on male circumcision for HIV prevention. AVAC has developed a range of tools for advocates in developing and developed countries and continues to convene civil society conference calls, issue-focused meetings, and electronic dialogues as forums for input on this and other issues in HIV prevention.

Family Health International (FHI)

FHI works to address key public health and development needs in developing countries, including family planning, child and maternal health, infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, and chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease. FHI also works to strengthen broader health systems. Through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FHI and its international partners -- the University of Illinois at Chicago and EngenderHealth --- are establishing a Male Circumcision Consortium to improve and expand voluntary male circumcision services in Kenya. FHI serves as the webmaster for the Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention, and in partnership with WHO, UNAIDS and AVAC, develops and selects content for the site.


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SOURCE Family Health International
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