As new discoveries in HIV
prevention are made, including the use of circumcision and microbicides, the
U.S. must have maximum flexibility to spend limited resources in the areas of
HIV prevention that are most relevant to country demands. New discoveries are
made in vain—and at considerable cost—if they cannot be funded and utilized in
the countries where they can make the greatest impact.
While the end of 2006 delivered promising new research in the area of male
circumcision for HIV prevention, it is in the New Year and beyond where the
potential to do great things with this new research will be realized. As
reported late last year, male circumcision has been shown to reduce HIV
infection rates in males by roughly 50%. While this is a promising development,
support for male circumcision programs could be hampered by the
abstinence-until-marriage earmark in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS
If it is determined that male circumcision should be included in HIV
prevention programs—to be used in addition to other evidence-based prevention
efforts—it has the potential to make a huge impact in places like sub-Saharan
Africa where there is both high HIV prevalence and low male circumcision rates.
However, PEPFAR support for this new prevention method would compete with
limited prevention funding due to required spending for
As 2007 gets underway, PAI urges the U.S. to overturn the
abstinence-until-marriage earmark in PEPFAR and allow countries to develop HIV
prevention programs that take full advantage of scientific discoveries that
offer the most potential to save lives.