DUT encourages students to ‘get cut’

2013-08-15 00:00

DOWN with the foreskin, down.

This was the slogan chanted by Durban University of Technology (DUT) students at the launch of the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) drive at the Riverside Campus yesterday.

Crisis psychologist at DUT Siya Thabethe said the event was organised by student counselling and funded by Drum Aide, an organisation based at the campus to teach sex education.

“With this launch, we are sending a message to all students that we want them to graduate still healthy and alive,” said Thabethe.

He said they had also invited female students, because they understood that they would also help to influence their boyfriends to undergo circumcision, which would reduce the HIV/Aids infection rate, if more male students are circumcised and also used condoms.

“We thought that VMMC would be a useful platform to encourage students to live a healthy lifestyle, because research indicates that when a person is circumcised, they reduce their chances of being infected by 60%,” he said.

Thabethe said they viewed VMMC as a useful platform to spread awareness to students, because HIV/Aids targets young people, who are often ignorant about it, despite studying at tertiary institutions.

The students were also treated to an educational drama, which highlighted the need for mothers to be honest to their children about who their biological fathers are, and showed the dangers of infidelity and the ripple effects of the spread of HIV/Aids. The play also highlighted the ignorance of those who are circumcised and think that circumcision makes them safe from getting infected with the virus.

The drama also warned of the dangers of sugar daddies and how they manipulate young students, infecting them with HIV/Aids and leaving them with unplanned babies.

Sifiso Mthembu, a guest speaker from the Health Department’s medical male circumcision and prevention unit, told students that circumcision was not only important for men, but women also benefited from it.

“If there is 60% reduction rate of infections for men, then there is also a 60% chance of reducing transmission for women. This has a double impact on saving our population, but there is still a need for people to use condoms,” said Mthembu.

He said since 2010, the department had circumcised 269 000 males and there had been no casualties because they have a centre of excellence in Northdale Hospital, where staff are trained.

DUT peer educators, who are public relations students as well, (from left) Thabani Ngcongo, Phumzile Jiyane, Thembelihle Zuma and Nomthandazo Ntando took part in the drive to get male students to agree to be circumcised.

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