Roundup: Kenya set to adopt male circumcision device to curb HIV

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Kenya is set to introduce a new non-surgical male circumcision device to help curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, an official said on Tuesday.

Martin Sirengo, the head of National AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in the Health Ministry, said PrePex procedure, a non-surgical, bloodless, fast and easier medical circumcision device, had been piloted in the country since 2015.

"The study has shown that PrePex male device meets the safety standards used internationally for such devices to pave way for its use in Kenya," he said during the release of a report on the PrePex Male Circumcision Device in the country.

Sirengo said the device, which is already registered by the Pharmacy and Poisons Board, was introduced under the World Health Organization (WHO) guidance.

PrePex differs with the conventional circumcision. Instead of cutting the foreskin, the device uses a radial elastic pressure to compress the foreskin between two rings, cutting off blood supply until the foreskin dies and dries up and after one week, the unwanted foreskin tissue is safely removed.

"The procedure is bloodless, requires no injected anesthesia, no sutures and takes only a few minutes to perform," Sirengo said.

The device was pre-qualified by the WHO in 2013.

Sirengo said that once a consensus was arrived, the device would be rolled out for use for men aged 13 years and above.

He said that since the device was piloted as an HIV prevention intervention, a number of barriers to accessing the service such as disruption of work schedules, economic activity, pain and cosmetic outcome of male circumcision have been observed.

The lead researcher on the use of the device, June Odoyo, said that the procedure was capable of preventing new HIV infections and penile cancer in men.

"We have done the study in collaboration with 2,475 respondents from 10 regions where communities who traditionally do not circumcise live," he said.

"Men with HIV and those with tight foreskin will not be circumcised using this method until additional studies are done," he added.

According to Julius Achia, an administrator in West Pokot, North Western Kenya, who underwent the procedure, the process of circumcision under the process was fast and smooth unlike the conventional way.

"Once circumcised, the nursing takes place at home and hence reducing costs of staying in a hospital," he said.

Achia said that amongst his Pokot communities of northwest Kenya, circumcision was several decades but with the advent of HIV, they now see the need to be circumcised.

"I had to set an example amongst my subjects so that they could follow suit in helping reduce the spread of HIV in the country," he said. Endit

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