Today U.S. Ambassador Matthew T. Harrington launched a new medical male circumcision project for Lesotho under the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Through PEPFAR, the United States government has provided more than $225 million in bilateral support to help Lesotho combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The United States is a committed partner to Lesotho and to helping the Basotho build a bright and prosperous future. Part of that commitment is our work, together, to fight HIV/AIDS.
Since 2012, the U.S. government has supported the Ministry of Health in implementing the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) programs in Lesotho. Through our efforts, VMMC services have rapidly scaled up and have provided more than 80,000 medical circumcisions throughout Lesotho. Building on these successes, this new project will provide 26,000 new circumcisions by the end of this year.
Ambassador Harrington said, “Today, with the launch of this program, we are marking our ongoing commitment; a commitment that reflects the deep compassion and generosity of the American people. The U.S. Government looks forward to continuing its collaboration with the Government of Lesotho and other stakeholders, aimed at achieving an AIDS free generation.”
VMMC services consist of HIV and health education, HIV testing and counselling, sexually transmitted infections screening, male circumcision surgery, and linkages of HIV positive clients to care and treatment services. At fixed sites, including all district hospitals, VMMC services are provided twice a week including Saturdays. During the winter when the demand is especially high, the hospitals provide services daily. VMMC services are also provided at health center facilities through regular outreach.
This project is funded by the U.S. government’s President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief, administered by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented in Lesotho by JHPIEGO.