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Circumcised or not, both partners are vulnerable to infection

By Faeza
14 March 2017

By Clement Fana Ntuli

IN AN effort to prevent the spread of HIV, we have seen campaigns that say circumcision reduces HIV infections. The message has been interpreted to mean that if you are circumcised you are not able to contract or spread HIV. It is important to address this with facts for a better understanding.

EXIT AND ENTRY POINTS

For the virus to be transmitted to another person, it needs to exit from the infected person and find a point where it will enter another person. This simply means HIV can spread from one partner to another. Therefore, circumcised or not, both partners are vulnerable to infection. The exchange of fluids during intercourse allows the virus to spread.

WHY CIRCUMCISION IS RECOMMENDED

Studies have revealed that the foreskin contains Langerman’s cells, which are HIV receptors. In removing the foreskin, the chances of infection are reduced. This serves men rather than women. But still, circumcision is important.

DANGER OF RELYING ON CIRCUMCISION

As highlighted before, there is an exchange of fluids during intercourse. Many will attest to the fact that sexual organs also inhale and exhale. The ‘breathing’ of sexual organs allows the fluids to move in and out between partners. Consequently, the virus is able to exit and enter. Many people advocating for circumcision do not share this. In acknowledging the fact that there is an exchange of fluids, they also

recommend condom use.

THE POSITIVE SIDE OF CIRCUMCISION

Having explained that, I still recommend circumcision. But I do not recommend it as a prevention method for HIV, but for other reasons. Circumcision is good for hygiene. The dirt that is found underneath the foreskin is eliminated. Sexual satisfaction is another

reason. It has been discovered that circumcision makes sex more pleasurable and increases longevity.

DON'T FOCUS ON THE STATISTICS

People need not focus on statistics because they distort the message towards prevention. It makes many think they cannot contract HIV if their partners are circumcised and in the process make themselves vulnerable to spreading and/or contracting the virus.

CONCLUSION

Some public messages can be easily misunderstood and misinterpreted. It is the case with circumcision. While it is recommended that people be circumcised, caution must be taken in ensuring the message is clear and without misconceptions. There are a lot of myths and distorted messages about the virus that lead to the spread of HIV. Whether your partner is

circumcised or not, infection and re-infection still occur. Use condoms at all times.