Rallying behind the ‘snip’

2017-06-21 06:03
PHOTOS: SUPPLIEDMusician and composer Khaya Mthethwa.

PHOTOS: SUPPLIEDMusician and composer Khaya Mthethwa.

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LOCAL celebrities, who support voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), joined hands with Community Media Trust (CMT) – a non-profit company that specialises in communication in the fields of health, human rights and gender based violence to boost VMMC take-up among SA men during national Men’s Health Month this June.

Lucilla Blankenberg, co-director of CMT says most of the celebrities involved in the campaign support male circumcision as a way to offer additional protection against HIV, sexually transmitted infections and other life-threatening health conditions that face men, such as penile and prostate cancer.

“Men are not immune to these diseases. About seven million people are living with HIV in our country, and prostate cancer is the most common cancer among South African men.

Medical male circumcision has been proven to offer men many protective benefits and there really shouldn’t be any hesitation to undergo the procedure,” says Blankenberg.

The national marketing drive will be a series of video and radio public service announcements, posters and radio interviews that feature the 11 celebs and their messages.

The celebrities came on board as ambassadors for CMT’s “Man Up” campaign because they believe in its message.

The celebrity ambassadors include musician and composer, Khaya Mthethwa, singer-songwriter Chad Saaiman, actor and comedian Christian Bennet, actor Lemogang Tsipa, Scandal actor Brighton Ngoma, actor and presenter Katleho Sinivasan, actor and musician Wandile Molebatsi, actor and director Obed Baloyi; 7de Laan actor Sekoati Tsubane, Matli Mohapeloa, and Scandal actor Luthuli Dlamini.

Mthethwa says what prompted him to take action by putting his name behind the campaign was his love for his fellow man.

“Life is not just about taking care of ourselves. It’s about looking out for our families and others as well.

HIV is a major health concern in South Africa and I cannot idly stand by and do nothing. A proactive approach is going to put an end to the disease.”

Dlamini says: “It’s a great cause and promotes health and safety for all. Circumcision reduces the chance of HIV and reduces the risk of women getting cervical cancer.”

Blankenberg says the campaign is intended to reach millions who are deemed most at risk of HIV in the country.

“Medical male circumcision has been shown to reduce a man’s lifetime risk of contracting HIV by 60% and is therefore considered an important prevention measure in the fight against the disease, which claimed the lives of over 150 000 South Africans in 2016.

Tsubane believes every little bit helps to curb the scourge of HIV.

“I’m all for VMMC, one hundred percent.”

Molebatsi feels that VMMC is more than just a medical procedure.

“We should talk more openly about the wide-ranging benefits of circumcision and debunk the myths that exist around it. ‘Man Up’ is a call for men to take responsibility.”

Blankenberg says ultimately she hopes the overall campaign message will serve as a source of inspiration for men to get circumcised.

“Medical male circumcision is free, safe, effective, plus it’ll score men points with the ladies, as most prefer having sex with a circumcised man. Men also report better sex after circumcision, so it’s worth it on every front.

Baloyi says it was his friend that made him go for the “snip”.

“I remember my friend telling me about how great things were in the bedroom department since he had been circumcised, but I also found it was good for my health.”

Blankenberg urges men to unite behind circumcision.

“They need to stand up and confront the health challenges we face as a country by playing their part. Millions of lives can be saved if men take action.”

To protect yourself and your family, book a free circumcision by SMSing your full name to 35255 and a trained VMMC counsellor will call you back. - Supplied.

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