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Unprecedented Scale-Up of Voluntary Male Circumcision Begins in Swaziland and Zambia
Date:6/11/2009

The Male Circumcision Partnership expands access to proven HIV prevention intervention

WASHINGTON, June 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a significant move from research on male circumcision to full-scale implementation, the Male Circumcision Partnership is launching a massive scale-up of voluntary male circumcision services in Swaziland and Zambia. The Partnership is supported by a five-year, $50 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Population Services International (PSI). PSI and partners Marie Stopes International, Jhpiego, The Population Council and the governments of Swaziland and Zambia estimate that the project will provide voluntary male circumcision services to nearly 650,000 men.

The Male Circumcision Partnership program in Swaziland and Zambia also builds upon the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) supported medical male circumcision activities in each country. This partnership is evidence of a strong and growing coordination among the Gates Foundation, PEPFAR and other partners under the leadership of host country governments to support evidence-based medical male circumcision for the purpose of HIV prevention.

Cited by both the World Health Organization and UNAIDS as an "important intervention," male circumcision reduces HIV infections among men by 60%, according to scientific research -- more effective than any vaccine currently in development.

"Safe male circumcision in combination with other prevention programs has a critical role to play in the global effort to fight HIV/AIDS," said Regina Rabinovich, Director of Infectious Disease Development in the Gates Foundation Global Health Program. "Studies confirm that safe, voluntary male circumcision has been shown to reduce HIV transmission rates and help save lives."

In order to ensure quality scale-up and to meet the current demand for voluntary male circumcision, the Partnership is establishing a network of nearly 250 providers across the public, private and NGO sectors to deliver quality male circumcision services. This collaboration with the Swaziland and Zambia governments supports their national HIV prevention strategies by greatly expanding access to this important prevention intervention.

The Partnership will also launch a series of innovative behavior change communication campaigns focused on post-circumcision issues, such as the need for ongoing safe sex practices and continued condom use.

About PSI

A leading global health organization, PSI programs target malaria, child survival, HIV and reproductive health. Through partnerships and local markets, PSI empowers vulnerable communities to lead healthier lives. www.psi.org


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SOURCE Population Services International
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