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Up to $5 million partnership to increase circumcision rates among men in South Africa. Read More
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In December 2009, after repeatedly having heard about the innovative work and ground breaking research conducted by the CHAPS team, Bill Gates decided to visit Orange Farm. This is what he had to say:
I mentioned in last year’s letter thatstudies have shown that male circumcision reduces the odds of transmission from a woman to a man by over 60 percent. In areas where transmission is widespread, if you circumcise most of the men over 14 years old you can significantly reduce the spread of HIV. The foundation funded pilot efforts to scale up circumcision, but I viewed it as highrisk because I was doubtful that enough men would volunteer to be circumcised. That is why last December I went to visit Bertran Auvert, a French scientist working in a South African township called Orange Farm. Bertran conducted one of the 2010 key studies on the effectiveness of circumcision, and now he has set out to show that doubters like me are wrong.
He and his co-leader, Dirk Taljaard, are modest about their work but, amazingly, they are getting over 750 men a month to come to their facility. They have already circumcised 14,000 men, and within a year they think they will be able to circumcise almost all of the men in the community. It looks like a very high percentage will participate…Based on this success, a number of facilities are being set up in South Africa and in other countries with high HIV prevalence to do the same thing. In many African countries, if a high percentage of men volunteer for circumcision, it will reduce the number of cases at least 30 percent over time, which shows what an impact a great scientist like Bertran can have.