More realising the value of male circumcision in curbing HIV

2016-06-29 06:00

THE National Department of Health has set a target of 4,3 million circumcisions to be done by the end of 2016. To meet its target, the department has launched new campaigns to increase the intake of patients for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC).

It is envisaged that the programme could half the number of new HIV infections in South Africa and could avert more than 1 million new HIV infections by 2025.

Rachael Rawlinson, manager of the prevention programme at the HIV management organisation CareWorks, says South Africa still has a fighting chance.

“Over the past five years, 2,3 million men have already taken up the challenge and we are encouraged by districts that have risen to the challenge,” Rawlinson said.

There seems to be positive response from men undergoing circumcision, giving the programme a boost. According to Rawlinson, campaigns that have been extremely effective are those that encourage men who have already undergone circumcision to “mobilise” their peers for VMMC.

“We have seen a spike in demand in many at-risk communities, as communication around VMMC intensifies. More and more South African men (and women) are becoming aware of the risks that can go along with sex and the difference that VMMC can make in reducing a man’s chances of getting HIV.”

Rawlinson said the data and science is convincing, with VMMC having been shown to reduce a man’s lifetime risk of acquiring HIV by approximately 60%.

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