KIGALI - Rwanda unveiled a recent study of the PrePex male circumcision device at a Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston, Massachusetts.
More than 4,000 leading researchers and clinicians from around the world participated.
The PrePex System, a new device and methodology for rapid adult male circumcision, works through a special elastic mechanism that fits closely around an inner ring, trapping the foreskin, which dries up and is removed after a week.
Principal study investigator, Dr Jean Paul Bitega, shared the study results with the world's researchers working to understand, prevent, and treat HIV/AIDS and its complications.
The new technology comes at a time when Rwanda is targeting mass circumcision as a way of fighting HIV infection.
According to a press statement, the experts picked particular interest in the study which demonstrated the safety and efficacy of the PrePex device without bleeding, sutures or anesthesia.
Bitega, a surgeon, noted; “The PrePex device has the potential to facilitate rapid scale-up in national programs for HIV prevention, an important need in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
The PrePex study was administered at Kanombe Military Hospital by Rwandan physicians.
An abstract of the first 40 subjects were presented at conference.
“We already have nurses successfully applying the procedure. The implications of a device like this are broad - we can go to a university and circumcise 1,000 students in few days, in a regular classroom, by trained nurses,” he said.
With the new technology the economy does not suffer because men have taken several days off work to heal. Three or four hours after circumcision, a man can be back at work.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, recently announced that Rwanda has a national goal to decrease its HIV incidence rate by 50% by circumcising two million adults in two years as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy.
“With the PrePex device, this can be a reality and Rwanda finally has the potential to achieve our goal. The procedure is quick, simple, bloodless and safe," said Binagwaho, who also the co-author of the study.