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US$18.5 million grant makes male circumcision a top-tier HIV prevention strategy
Date:11/24/2008

NAIROBI, Kenya--Male circumcision is gaining recognition as a fundamental practice for limiting the spread of HIV across sub-Saharan Africa. Three conclusive studies conducted in African countries, including Kenya, have shown that becoming circumcised dramatically reduces a man's chances of acquiring HIV from an infected woman. The challenge now is to transform this clinical knowledge into a public-health strategy that can save millions of lives.

Family Health International (FHI), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Government of Kenya have come together to address this challenge. FHI has received a five-year, US$18.5 million grant from the Gates Foundation to establish the Male Circumcision Consortium (MCC), a partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and EngenderHealth.

The Consortium will work within the framework of the National Guidance for Voluntary Male Circumcision in Kenya and with a range of health care providers to improve and expand voluntary male circumcision services in Kenya. These efforts will be coordinated through the National Task Force on Male Circumcision at the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation and, in Nyanza Province, through the offices of the provincial directors of public health and sanitation and of medical services.

The government initiative is also supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other partners.

The Consortium, in consultation with the Government of Kenya, will conduct a range of research and training activities to determine the safest and most effective ways to provide voluntary male circumcision services. It will also help Kenya provide comprehensive and accessible HIV prevention in areas with the lowest levels of male circumcision and the highest prevalence of HIV.

The Consortium will focus primarily on Nyanza Province, but the impact will be national, says Dr. Mores Loolpapit of Family Health Internatio
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Contact: Beth Robinson
brobinson@fhi.org
919-768-2204
Family Health International
Source:Eurekalert

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