HIV battle: Uganda tests out rubber band circumcision - Daily Nation

HIV battle: Uganda tests out rubber band circumcision

Tuesday June 17 2014

A medical staff member points at a non-surgical circumcision device called Prepex in Mukono on May 12, 2014. The simple device -- two plastic rings and an elastic band -- which cuts off blood supply to the foreskin, which then shrivels and is removed with the band after a week, is rolling out in several African nations to encourage circumcision and cut HIV infection rates. AFP PHOTO/ ISAAC KASAMANI

A medical staff member points at a non-surgical circumcision device called Prepex in Mukono on May 12, 2014. The simple device -- two plastic rings and an elastic band -- which cuts off blood supply to the foreskin, which then shrivels and is removed with the band after a week, is rolling out in several African nations to encourage circumcision and cut HIV infection rates. AFP PHOTO/ ISAAC KASAMANI 

By AFP
More by this Author

KAMPALA

With trousers around his ankles, Justin Igalla awaits a tight rubber band for his foreskin, an innovative non-surgical technique rolling out in several African nations to encourage circumcision and cut HIV infection rates.

The simple device — two plastic rings and an elastic band — cuts off blood supply to the foreskin, which then shrivels and is removed with the band after a week.

"I felt nothing, not even a little discomfort," Igalla said after a procedure taking just minutes, noting there was no blood — unlike traditional circumcision where the foreskin is sliced off by knife — thus reducing the risk of infection.

Igalla, a father of two, said he opted to have his foreskin taken off for "health reasons".

Scientists have found that male circumcision can significantly reduce the chances of HIV infection because the foreskin has a higher concentration of HIV-receptors than the rest of the penis and is prone to tears during intercourse, providing HIV an entry point.

As well as Uganda, the device is being used in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan countries. All have been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "priority" states where the risk of acquiring HIV is high and male circumcision, and access to conventional surgical procedures, is low.

Uganda hopes the device, called PrePex, will convince adult men to be circumcised as part of the battle against AIDS, now resu