AIDS researcher Daniel Halperin and colleagues, having analyzed data from 20 years of HIV studies conducted in Africa, are now saying that circumcision and fidelity are the two best methods to fight HIV in Africa, the Chicago Tribune reports. Presenting study data at the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, Halperin, an adviser for the U.S. Agency for International Development, said circumcision appears to reduce HIV transmission levels by 60% to 75%. That, coupled with monogamy, appeared to be much more effective in fighting the spread of HIV than abstinence education or condom use. Abstinence campaigns, he said, merely delayed sexual activity by African youth by a year or two.
Condom use is sporadic among African men, particularly by men with steady sex partners, which limits its effectiveness in slowing HIVís spread, Halperin said study data show. Condoms are effective, however, in lowering HIV transmission rates among sex workers and their clients, he said, pointing to such successes in lowering HIV transmission rates in Senegal and Ghana.
Studies also showed that encouraging people to learn their HIV serostatus and to treat sexually transmitted diseases, which can make HIV infection easier, also had little effect in lowering HIV transmission rates. (The Advocate)