A senior health official in Uganda recently suggested that prison and army personnel should be circumcised to prevent HIV infection. Police, corrections and army officials are among the "most at-risk" populations in Uganda, Dr. Stella Nema, an HIV/AIDS researcher, said during the launch of an HIV testing campaign at Luzira Prison in Kampala. Numerous studies have shown that, when performed properly, circumcision significantly reduces the likelihood of female-to-male HIV transmission.
While only 1 percent of new Uganda Prisons Service recruits are HIV-positive when they sign up, prevalence rises to 7 percent less than five years after graduation, Nema said.
"Male recruits who test HIV-negative should all get circumcised," said Dr. Zainabu Akol, the Health Ministry's STD program manager. "Rwanda, Burundi and [Democratic Republic of] Congo are circumcising."
Akol emphasized the importance of recruits knowing their HIV status. "If you know that you are positive, protect yourself and others by having protected sex," he said. "If you are negative, remain negative."
In addition, those diagnosed as HIV-infected can seek treatment, said Dr. Johnson Byabashaija, the commissioner-general of prisons.