The Standard (Zimbabwe)
November 10, 2013
Circumcised men indulge in risky sexual behaviourSOME circumcised men are contracting HIV and Aids after ditching the use of condoms, under a misguided belief that male circumcision (MC) would prevent them from getting infected, The Standard has heard.
This revelation comes at a time when the national programme is battling for recognition and relevance as an effective preventive tool for HIV and Aids in the country.
Sex workers who spoke to The Standard last week said some circumcised men were no longer using preventive methods, including condoms, because they believed that their chances of getting infected were limited after getting circumcised.
One of the sex workers, who only identified herself as Memory told a United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) media training workshop in Bulawayo last week, that most of her circumcised clients were not willing to use condoms.
“I have problems with circumcised men because they do not want to use condoms. They always argue that because they have been circumcised they did not need to use condoms,” said the heavily pregnant Memory, who is also HIV-positive.
Memory said even after disclosing her HIV status, they still insisted on sleeping with her without any form of protection.
“I even take my antiretroviral drugs in their presence but they do not care and because I have a family to feed, I give in to their demands,” said Memory.
But Ministry of Health and Child Care national male circumcision coordinator, Sinokuthemba Xaba maintained that the procedure reduced chances of getting infected by at least 60%, but urged men not to stop using condoms.
He defended the programme saying it was a pity that some people were under the misguided opinion that by being circumcised they would not be infected.
[More than a "pity" - it's a total disaster.]
“MC is still an effective tool and circumcisions avert HIV-infection but circumcised men can still get HIV,” Xaba said.
According to the 2010/2011 Zimbabwe Health Demographic Survey (ZDHS), 14% of circumcised men in the country between the ages of 15 and 49 years contracted HIV as compared to those uncircumcised.
[Was this deliberately garbled? What is missing is “..as compared to 12% of those uncircumcised.” A 2005 survey found 16.6% and 14.2%.. In other words, circumcision has conferred no protection whatsoever on the men surveyed.]
Meanwhile, the uptake of the MC remains low with most provinces recording less than 10% uptake.