Tuesday, December 7, 2010
World AIDS Day 2010 – Are you circumcised? (01.12.2010)
So this past World AIDS Day was probably the most interesting I have had yet. My work here at the Youth Center is part of a larger MUWRP and PEPFAR initiative so the variety of work I could do on this day was basically up to my choosing. So what did I choose to do instead of going on prevention outreach with my staff you might ask? Well I chose to spend a good portion of the day in the Medical Male Circumcision Clinic (MMC) at Kayunga Hospital which is a stone throw away from the Youth Center.
Every day my staff is at MMC to do intake evaluations, HIV testing and counseling as well as for data collection. In 2008 PEPFAR launched an initiative in Uganda to start a circumcision clinic here in the Kayunga Hospital. Statistics show (and to be honest I’m not sure if I completely believe this yet) that a male who is circumcised is 50% less likely to harbor and contract the virus. I totally believe the harboring part just because the virus has a less hospitable environment to try and survive on, but I’m not sure about the contracting part because I feel that if there is not proper education along with procedure then it is a waste of time and money. However, that is why I love what they are doing at the Kayunga Hospital with my staff: they are not only educating, but testing and counseling along with the procedure. Plus the procedure only costs $29 USD per person to complete! Cost effective and life changing. The procedure can be done on any male from 12 years of age (with parent permission) onward and takes about half an hour. By 2015, if support for circumcision from the Obama administration doesn't waver, my boss estimates that upwards of 40,000 HIV infections will be averted in Uganda per year with this procedure and proper supporting education.
I got to spend the day helping collect data from the procedures, learning what exactly the procedure entails and assisting the surgeons with getting more sterile equipment and sutures. It was an interesting procedure to watch and not at all what I was expecting. I won’t go into details here, but you can always ask directly :).
With that being said MUWRP MMC project just got a new addition to the already growing family: a MMC mobile theater truck!
This truck was bought by PEPFAR to go up to the fishing villages in the northern Kayunga District to help better serve that area. The fishing villages have one of the highest infection rates in the country and they are all so hard working that they either do not have the time or the means to travel down to Kayunga Hospital to get the circumcision procedure preformed. This truck is meant to better serve their communities and will be utilized a lot!
This truck is amazing. It was made by an engineering company out of South Africa and just delivered to MUWRP a couple of days before World AIDS Day. The truck will be parked at the Youth Center until it’s official ‘unveiling’ on January 21st at a ceremony in Kampala. Everyone here is very proud of the MMC Mobile Until and rightfully so: the truck has two operating theaters inside, is complete with storage facilities, A/C and a water tank that can be refilled from an attachment nozzle to a local near by bore hole and then sanitized while in the tank. It comes with tents, tables and chairs to be set up outside the van while doing intake evaluations, HIV/AIDS testing and counseling and post-op education and rest.
It is exciting to be a part of this area of HIV prevention. I am very excited to be able to travel doing prevention outreach to the fishing villages while promoting MMC.