New male circumcision device gets WHO nod

Washington, June 25 (IANS) A new voluntary male circumcision device that does away with sutures, involves minimal bleeding and is disposable has been approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for use.

The device, called ShangRing, consists of two concentric plastic rings that lock together over the foreskin. Unlike the conventional surgery, male circumcision with the ShangRing requires no sutures, involves minimal bleeding and is disposable.

It is the first such device that has been pre-qualified by WHO for circumcision of adults as well as adolescent boys aged 13 to 17 years.

The WHO pre-qualification means that ShangRing meets international standards of safety and this would potentially increase access to the device in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions where the burden of HIV is highest.

Conclusive clinical research has shown that circumcision can reduce male acquisition of HIV through vaginal intercourse by up to 60 percent.

“This is a major milestone toward improving access to voluntary medical male circumcision, which will help to prevent HIV acquisition in low-resource settings and contribute to the international efforts to achieve an AIDS-free generation,” said Shang Jianzhong, inventor of ShangRing and chairman of Wuhu Snnda Medical Treatment Appliance Technology Co, China.

In 2007, WHO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommended that voluntary medical male circumcision be included in HIV prevention programmes in southern and eastern Africa — countries with high rates of heterosexually transmitted HIV and low rates of male circumcision.

“The ShangRing is very simple to use and reduces the time needed to perform male circumcision by about half, compared to conventional procedures,” said Jairus Oketch, Kenya Registered Community Health Nurse, Homa Bay District Hospital.

The ShangRing was assessed among more than 1,900 healthy adult men aged 18 years and older in five studies conducted in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia and among more than 350 adolescent males aged 13 to 17 years in Kenya and Uganda.

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