This week, in a special event in Kenya, dozens of men are taking a big step to protect themselves from HIV.

Today through Thursday — which just so happens to be World AIDS Day — FH staff in Kenya are carrying out a massive campaign to medically circumcise more than 150 men in one of the world's most HIV-endemic places.

Once men learn that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) can help protect them from HIV, many willingly line up for it. The procedure has been reported to lower by about 60 percent a man's risk of contracting HIV from a woman (source: World Health Organization).

The remote Turkana District of northwestern Kenya has high rates of poverty and HIV and low rates of circumcised men. Here, the most common mode of HIV infection is heterosexual sex. For these reasons, the Turkana District is the perfect environment to use VMMC as part of a comprehensive HIV-prevention strategy.

Because of its importance, this event brings together people from all areas of society: the national government, the local leadership, health professionals, community volunteers, youth and Food for the Hungry. Here, a council of elders inspects the event location.

It's a big production requiring a great deal of planning, coordination and anticipation.

All physical materials are trucked in from Nairobi: surgical tents, tables and tools. Surgeons and nurses come from the Nyanza Reproductive Health Society 930 miles away. The event was scheduled for this week because schools are closed and more people can participate.

Word of the event was spread during a food-aid distribution on November 22, and men of all ages were encouraged to come back this week to have the procedure. “Peer educators” also were mobilized to take the message of the benefits of VMMC to their neighbors and friends.

To learn more about how this all works, read about a VMMC event that happened earlier this year.

How can you help?

  • PRAY for the event. Zachary, FH's HIV/AIDS program manager, wrote to us saying they're now having heavy rains where the event is set to take place. Pray for the rain to be held back so people can get to the event site.

, ,

Comments are closed.