HIV circumcision faces challenge

2009-09-22 12:17

Promoters of male circumcision as a weapon against HIV will have to

reckon with a Zulu belief that partial circumcision means better sex, according

to researchers.

An article in the latest issue of the South African Medical Journal

reports that interviews in a rural community in KwaZulu-Natal revealed “rich

traditional understandings” of male circumcision. People had strong negative

views on circumcision that involved removal of the foreskin.

“These perceptions seem to originate in historical tensions between

Zulus and the Xhosas regarding male circumcision,” they said.

“In contrast to the Xhosa practice of full circumcision, Zulus

traditionally promoted partial circumcision (ukugweda).

“Here, the foreskin is not removed, but an elastic band of tissue

under the penis glans is cut, allowing the foreskin to move easily back and

forth.”

The researchers, from the Human Sciences Research Council and the

University of California, said men and women taking part in the interviews

understood the difference between full and partial circumcision, but preferred

ukugweda.

They felt it helped prevent infections, and helped avoid

sensitivity and pain during sex.

“Participants felt that if the tissue under the penis glans is

uncut, the foreskin is not able to move back and forth easily, which interferes

with erection and causes the penis to bend downward painfully.

“A partial cut is believed to allow sperm to move freely and to

enhance pleasure for men and women.”

The researchers said male circumcision was being widely promoted on

the assumption that the term was unambiguous.

However, their study showed a widely-held alternative meaning in

the rural community where they conducted their interviews.

They said there was a need to distinguish between medical male

circumcision, and its benefits, and ukugweda, whose HIV benefits were

unknown.

“For successful uptake in these contexts, strategies to overcome

historically negative cultural perceptions of male circumcision among Zulus, as

well as positive associations of partial circumcision with enhanced sexual

pleasure, are required,” they said.

Trials in South Africa, Uganda and Kenya have shown that full

circumcision has a dramatic effect in reducing HIV transmission.

The World Health Organisation said in 2007 that there was

“compelling evidence” that circumcision reduced heterosexually acquired HIV

infection in men by about 60%.

It said male circumcision should be considered “an efficacious

intervention”.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/World

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.