WHO approves low-tech Israeli circumcision device

PrePex, a simple nonsurgical circumcision device made of a rubber band and a grooved ring, has gained crucial World Health Organization (WHO) approval.

The milestone, reported by The New York Times, The Daily Mail and others, enables wide distribution of the inexpensive device throughout sub-Saharan Africa in a bid to slow the advance of HIV. (Circumcision can greatly reduce the chance men will become infected with HIV.)

Israel's Circ MedTech created the device, which went through WHO's rigorous, multistep approval process. And now approval opens it up to backing from groups including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to spur widespread adoption.

While medical devices can become dazzlingly complex, PrePex is on the other end of the spectrum. The New York Times describes the device as being unusually simple--something that two nurses put in place for about a week. The pressure kills the foreskin, after which it is clipped or simply drops off. And the patient only needs a topical anesthetic.

China's Wu Hu is making another noninvasive surgical device that the WHO hopes to get to market soon. Like PrePex, the Wu Hu device works like an umbilical cord clamp--and both are designed to take about a fifth of the time that surgical circumcision takes and be a whole lot safer.

- read the NYT story
- here's The Daily Mail's take

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