Circumcision :: Male circumcision for HIV prevention – need for quality and safe services

Health services in many developing countries are weak and there is a shortage of skilled health professionals. There is a need, therefore, to ensure that male circumcision services for HIV prevention do not unduly disrupt other health care programmes, including other HIV/AIDS interventions.

In order to both maximize the opportunity afforded by male circumcision and ensure longer-term sustainability of services, male circumcision should, wherever possible, be integrated with other services.

The risks involved in male circumcision are generally low, but can be serious if circumcision is undertaken in unhygienic settings by poorly trained providers or with inadequate instruments. Wherever male circumcision services are offered, therefore, training and certification of providers, as well as careful monitoring and evaluation of programmes, will be necessary to ensure that these meet their objectives and that quality services are provided safely in sanitary settings, with adequate equipment and with appropriate counselling and other services.

Male circumcision has strong cultural connotations implying the need also to deliver services in a manner that is culturally sensitive and that minimizes any stigma that might be associated with circumcision status. Countries should ensure that male circumcision is undertaken with full adherence to medical ethics and human rights principles, including informed consent, confidentiality and absence of coercion.

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