The United States Agency for International Development is planning to spend $24.5 million to circumcise an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 male infants and males aged 10 to 49 in the kingdom of Swaziland by 2018.
The Kingdom of Swaziland has the highest rates of HIV in the world, accounting for 31 percent HIV prevalence among adults, the grant said.
“While the data suggest that the rate of new infections is stabilizing, HIV and AIDS remain the most important health burden and impediment to socio-economic development for Swaziland,” the grant said. “As a result, there is an urgent need to scale up the HIV prevention response in Swaziland.”
The Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) and Early Infant Circumcision (EIMC) Service Delivery and Support to Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland (GKOS) will be funded through the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
“PEPFAR’s global targets for 2013 include preventing 12 million new HIV infections,” the grant said.
By the time Swazi men are in their 30s, nearly half of them are HIV+.
Male circumcision has the potential to turn the tide of the HIV epidemic by reducing their risk of acquiring the disease by up to 60%.
Nationally, Swaziland has expanded its HIV prevention response to allow for male circumcision services in clinical settings.
This is the story of Mlungisi and his journey to get circumcised.
Swaziland has a big task ahead: to circumcise over 110,000 men aged 15-24 in the next five years.
Photography and Video by Neal Piper