Male circumcision has been found to reduce the risk of HIV infection by up to 60 per cent, and we know this because of Dr Kawango Agot’s work. Her major research interest is in risk factors for HIV infection and transmission, particularly those that touch on women and traditional cultural practices. Her research leadership spans the famed male circumcision trial in Kisumu, where she was the study co-ordinator between October 2001 and July 2007.
Since the launch of Kenya’s voluntary medical male circumcision programme in 2008, over 150,000 men — have been circumcised. Kenya’s government aims to have all uncircumcised men – who number an estimated 1.1 million — undergo the procedure by 2013, in so doing significantly reducing new HIV infections in the country.
Dr Agot has also undertaken studies interrogating the association between HIV/Aids and the cultural practice of widow inheritance among the Luo community. Her work has helped to influence perceptions about cultural practices and their relationship to the spread of HIV.