‘Fight AIDS, get circumcised’

2017-04-19 06:00

The promotion of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) among male students has been intensified on campuses throughout the country to obtain the ideal of an AIDS-free generation.

HIV management organisation CareWorks has been working with HEAIDS (Higher Education and Training HIV/AIDS Programme) in an attempt to slow down the spread of new HIV infections by urging male students to get circumcised.

Hilton Julius, VMMC programme manager for CareWorks, said scores of trained VMMC mobilisers would be deployed on campuses.

“We are aiming to engage students regarding the implications of unsafe sex and the benefits of VMMC during the next few months.”

Julius said currently, just over 3 million South African men have been circumcised.

He said according to findings, young adults are a sexually active population group that tends to engage in risky sexual behaviour, including unprotected sex with multiple partners.

“Statistics show that youths aged between 15 and 24 represent 39% of new HIV infections, which is alarming. Among young people with HIV, 4 million live in sub-Saharan Africa.

VMMC is an evidence-based intervention which has been proven to reduce a man’s lifetime risk of HIV by up to 60%. It also helps to prevent other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and lowers the risk of penile cancer.

“Female partners of circumcised males also stand to benefit, as it reduces a man’s chance of acquiring the human papilloma virus (HPV) and passing it onto his female partner.”

HPV causes cervical cancer in women.

Julius said the number of AIDS-related deaths between 2005 and 2012 decreased by 30% for all ages except among adolescents, who experienced a 50% increase in that same period. Similarly, two-thirds of new HIV infections occurred among youths aged 15 to 24.

To book a free circumcision or to find out more about the procedure, men can send their full name to 35255 and a trained VMMC counsellor will call them back.

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