Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Male circumcision is a cost-effective means to prevent the spread of HIV, according to a new United Nations-backed report, which found that one HIV infection could be averted for every five to 15 procedures performed on heterosexual men.

Using a 10-year time horizon, the study put the cost of averting one HIV infection in high HIV prevalence areas between $150 and $900.

Published in the open access journal <i>PLoS Medicine</i>, it is based on findings in meetings convened by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (<"">UNAIDS), the World Health Organization (<"">WHO) and the South African Centre for Epidemiological Modelling and Analysis (SACEMA).

First-line treatment costs typically exceed $7,000 over a lifetime, and double that if second-line therapies are used, the report said.

With each circumcision procedure costing between $30 and $60, with neonatal circumcision costing only one-third that amount, "circumcising sexually active males of any age is likely to be cost saving," it stressed.

However, the new publication pointed out that male circumcision may have only a minimal impact on curbing HIV transmission among men who have sex with men.

Additionally, despite studies confirming that circumcision could decrease female-to-male HIV transmission by 60 per cent, the procedure does not directly protect women from the virus, the report said.


  1. Circumcision is a dangerous distraction in the fight against AIDS. There are six African countries where men are more likely to be HIV+ if they've been circumcised: Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, and Swaziland. Eg in Malawi, the HIV rate is 13.2% among circumcised men, but only 9.5% among intact men. In Rwanda, the HIV rate is 3.5% among circumcised men, but only 2.1% among intact men. If circumcision really worked against AIDS, this just wouldn't happen. We now have people calling circumcision a "vaccine" or "invisible condom", and viewing circumcision as an alternative to condoms.

    The one study into male-to-female transmission showed a 50% higher rate in the group where the men had been circumcised btw.

    ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful, Condoms) is the way forward. Promoting genital surgery will cost African lives, not save them.

  2. It would take $10 billion/year to supply every man in Africa with 4 condoms per week. I think we waste a lot more than that on other less effective interventions.

    Most of the US men who have died of AIDS were circumcised at birth. The US presently has a mostly-cut adult population, yet we have three times the HIV incidence that Europe (where hardly anyone is cut) has. Whatever can be said of circumcision, it DOES NOT prevent AIDS.