1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa
  4. Kenya

Infant male circumcision for HIV prevention "promising"

The Mogen Clamp, used for male circumcision
The procedure on infants uses a clamp, with no need for stitching (Stanford School of Medicine)

Circumcising infant boys could become part of Kenya's voluntary male circumcision programme, at present restricted to over-15s, if an ongoing pilot project in the western province of Nyanza recommends it.

June Odoyo, of the University of Manitoba project, told IRIN/PlusNews that the programme, which seeks to test the acceptability and safety of the procedure as well as the ability of medical staff to provide infant circumcision, had so far proved successful.

"The prospects for it are promising and it has proved viable," he said.

The pilot, which began in October 2009 and is due to end in October 2010, involves training nurses and clinical officers to provide infant circumcision at five government health facilities in Kenya's Nyanza province.

It is being conducted by the University of Manitoba under the leadership of the Nyanza Province Male Circumcision Task Force, which is part of the National AIDS and Sexually transmitted infections Control Programme.


Despite initial resistance from cultural leaders in the region, male circumcision has been widely accepted in Nyanza, with more than 110,000 men undergoing the procedure since 2008. According to Odoyo, acceptance for infant circumcision was likely to be more varied.

"While the acceptance among parents is reasonably high, it is also very variable depending on where the health facility is situated," he said. "Rural areas experience high cases of cultural resistance to the programme, while the acceptability in urban areas is comparatively high."

More on male circumcision
 The million man cut
 Marketing the cut
 Zulu king revives male circumcision
 Tracking the male circumcision rollout


Odoyo noted that infant circumcision was preferable because it used a special tool known as the Mogen Clamp, takes a relatively shorter time to heal and does not involve stitching as is the case for adult circumcision. Studies show a lower rate of complications with infant circumcision.

A 2010 Rwandan study published by the Public Library of Science found that infant male circumcision was highly cost-effective when compared to circumcision among other age groups.

Male circumcision has been shown to reduce men's risk of becoming infected with HIV through heterosexual intercourse by up to 60 percent. UNAIDS and the UN World Health Organization have issued guidelines on the scale-up of male circumcision for HIV prevention.


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

It was The New Humanitarian’s investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation that uncovered sexual abuse by aid workers during the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo and led the World Health Organization to launch an independent review and reform its practices.

This demonstrates the important impact that our journalism can have. 

But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking. 

We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone.

The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and shine a light on similar abuses. 

Become a member today and support independent journalism

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.