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GlobalPost Examines Adult Male Circumcision Campaign In Swaziland

Noting “the United States wants to accelerate the pace of male circumcisions to support 4.7 million procedures in the developing world by the end of next year, up from one million at the beginning of this year,” GlobalPost, as part of its AIDS Turning Point special report, examines the adult male circumcision campaign in Swaziland. “Based on evidence from other African countries that female-to-male transmission of the virus can be reduced by 60 percent if men are circumcised, PEPFAR last year added an additional $15.5 million in funding for an ambitious ‘accelerated saturation initiative’ to circumcise 80 percent of HIV-negative men between ages 15 and 49” in Swaziland, GlobalPost notes, adding, “A year later, 23 percent had undergone the procedure.”

Experts say “a concoction of long-entrenched local traditions, false rumors, economic pressures, and gender imbalances added up to falling far short of the goal,” GlobalPost writes. However, “there was another problem: the U.S. government and others simply misjudged how long it takes to institute a procedure in a culture that has no history with circumcision,” the news service adds. The “failures in Swaziland have given everyone — even the [U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator] Ambassador Eric Goosby — great pause whether that goal announced by President Obama can be reached,” according to the news service, which adds Goosby last month “said the U.S. could still do it, but he acknowledged that scaling up male circumcision was much harder than expanding AIDS treatment or protecting newborns from infections by their mothers” (Smith, 7/5).

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