KAMPALA 15/2— The U.S. Mission Uganda has given the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) vehicles and equipment to launch three complete mobile army surgical units to expand access to mobile male circumcision in all five UPDF divisions. The seven vehicles and assorted equipment, valued at approximately $763,000, were funded by the U.S. Department of Defense and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Research has shown that safe medical male circumcision (SMC) is over 60 percent effective in reducing male HIV infection, and is an important part of the Combination Prevention Package, which includes condoms, being faithful to your partner, and knowing your HIV status.
Since 2009, the UPDF has opened four static sites (in Bombo, Gulu, Mbarara, and Katabi) to provide SMC. Due to high demand for SMC and the movement of UPDF forces, these static sites could not serve the entire force. The three mobile army surgical units donated by the U.S. Mission Uganda can travel to areas where there are no fixed facilities, or where the facilities are too small to circumcise more than a few men in a day. These teams will help the UPDF meet its goal of circumcising 60,000 men over the next three years.
The U.S. Government has broadly supported the UPDF's HIV prevention, care, and treatment programming for the last three years. The joint effort also includes HIV counseling and testing, prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), antiretroviral treatment, and addressing tuberculosis and HIV co-infection.