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Resistance hinders circumcision programme

PROMOTERS of the male circumcision programme need to go back to the drawing board after only 8% of the targeted people responded positively to their campaign.


The government set an ambitious target to circumcise three million men by the end of 2015, in its bid to reduce HIV infections in the country.

But to date, only 8% of the target population has been reached, less than two years before the deadline.

United Nations Joint Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAids) country director, Tatiana Shomiliana, said there was need to re-strategise so that more young people can be mobilised for the circumcision programme.

She said while resources had been availed to circumcise over 100 000 males in 2012 alone, far less than half the target was achieved.

“An analysis is going on. We are trying to understand why. Do we target wrong people? Do we message wrongly?” Shomiliana said.

She said wrong packaging of messages was contributing to the poor response to the programme. Shomiliana cited the message “Be a winner, get circumcised” which she said does not clearly bring out what it is that one would be winning by getting circumcised.

She however commended young people for being more responsive to the programme than older people.

National Coordinator of the HIV and Aids and Tuberculosis Response in the Health and Child Welfare ministry, Owen Mugurungi said although they were not happy with the response, they hoped more men would get circumcised.

“We still feel that we can do better. We have only circumcised close to 8% of our target population,” he said.

Mugurungi encouraged young people to get circumcised noting there were benefits not only for combating HIV, but for personal hygiene and prevention of cervical cancer to young women.

Male circumcision is part of the HIV prevention package that also covers men’s sexual reproductive health.

Experts say male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%.

11 Responses to Resistance hinders circumcision programme

  1. Mark Lyndon May 19, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    Zimbabwean men are *more* likely to have HIV if they’ve been circumcised:

    12.5% of intact Zimbabwean men have HIV
    14.6% of circumcised Zimbabwean men have HIV

    (figures from measuredhs)

    Other countries where circumcised men are *more* likely to be HIV+ include Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, and Swaziland. That’s at least seven African countries where men are more likely to be HIV+ if they’ve been circumcised, and yet they’re promoting circumcision to prevent HIV. What will it take to stop this madness?

    Europeans don’t circumcise, South Americans don’t circumcise, Australians and New Zealanders used to circumcise but stopped, most North Americans don’t circumcise. Why should Africans circumcise?

  2. Hugh7 May 20, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    The men who resist have every right to do so, and they are doing the right thing. The foreskin is the best part of the penis, and cutting it off makes men less willing to use condoms. Condoms are much better than circumcision at protecting men from HIV (if circumcision does any good at all), and if they use condoms, how can circumcision possibly add anything?

    “Be a winner, get circumcised” sends quite the wrong message, because it implies that getting circumcised is all you have to do (and perhaps that circumcised men have more sex, which would defeat the purpose of the exercise). But there is no right message.

    Two different surveys in Zimbabwe both found more of the circumcised men to have HIV than the non-circumcised. One was before the circumcision campaign began, one after. Both rates had fallen (suggesting the education aspect of the campaign changed everyone’s behaviour) but the ratio did not – circumcision made no difference.

    The other claims for circumcision are bogus or exaggerated (but they always wheel them out, because no one of the reasons given justifies doing it.) No good studies have shown the circumcision reduces cervical cancer, and hygiene is just a matter of soap and water, as with everywhere else on the body.

  3. KESH MADAMOMBE May 20, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    why do you need to test somebody for HIV if he wants to be circumcised, this is the reason we are reluctant. Explain to us why do ineed to be tested first. Even if i am almost certain that i am HIV – it is just the process of going through testing that scare me away.

    • Hugh7 May 23, 2013 at 8:30 am #

      So you want to be circumcised without knowing whether you have HIV or not? Then you can tell women “I’m safe, I’m circumcised” whether you are actually safe or not? This is going to make circumcision even more useless than it is already.

  4. gugle May 20, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    there is a likelihood of all men who were circumcised to be HIV positive by 2015.why am i saying so,most of these men have gone it skin to skin when it comes to sex,i mean no protection to be precise.there have chosen unprotected sex because the penis is now insensitive and fro enjoyment one decides to do it skin to skin,from poor campaigns they believe they won`t contact HIV and from excitement they endure long periods of having beware Africans.circumcision is not meant to cut the whole skin around penis should be targeted to just born babies who have not yet experienced sex,as for those who had sex before and then after circumcision believe you me there is a difference which sends wrong signal to the mind.take note,be responsible when you have been circumcised.thank you

  5. Joseph4GI May 20, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    ““An analysis is going on. We are trying to understand why. Do we target wrong people? Do we message wrongly?” Shomiliana said.”

    Maybe it’s the PRODUCT nobody wants to buy?

    Did organizers consider men may not ever want to be circumcised?

    What’s plan B?

    Have organizers designed HIV prevention strategies that do NOT involve genital mutilation?

    Or is this all they have?

    This organizers sounds as idiotic and as stupid as can be.

    Why don’t men agree to have their penises cut.

    Hmmm. I wonder why.

  6. Ronald Goldman, Ph.D. May 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    Many professionals have criticized the studies claiming that circumcision reduces HIV transmission. They have various flaws. The absolute rate of HIV transmission reduction is only 1.3%, not the claimed 60%. Authorities that cite the studies have other agendas including political and financial. Research shows that circumcision causes physical, sexual, and psychological harm. This harm is ignored by circumcision advocates. Other methods to prevent HIV transmission (e.g., condoms and sterilizing medical instruments) are much more effective, much cheaper, and much less invasive. Please see for more information and links to literature.

  7. Jackieno May 20, 2013 at 4:26 pm #

    It has become evident that in the actual populations men that have parts of their genitals cut off are getting HIV at the same or higher rate than men that have their natural genitals. For example The HIV prevalence rate among circumcised males between the ages of 15 and 49 in Zimbabwe is higher than that of the uncircumcised males “after the circumcision drive.” In Uganda the HIV rate continues to rise after the the circumcision drive. IN US population studies, circumcision has not shown ANY benefit for HIV or STDS.

    The often cited studies probably just show that men that had their genitals wounded (and cannot have sex for some time) and/or have received condoms and safe sex advice get HIV at a lower rate than men not wounded and/or that have not gotten condoms and safe sex advice. In any event, the 1.3% risk change claimed is barely statistically significant.

    This is a terrible waste of resources and may lead to less use of condoms and more HIV in Africa. It will certainly lead to more sexual dysfunction as these men age. Who will pay for the supply of VIAGRA?

  8. Roland Day May 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    This circumcision programme is based on the false premise that circumcision can reduce female-to-male HIV infection. That false premise, in turn, is based on three fraudulent randomized clinical trials that were concocted by Jewish interests to provide a medical defence for Jewish ritual circumcision.

    A higher incidence of HIV infection is found in circumcised men than in non-circumcised men.

    Men have a fundamental human right to security of their person so those who refuse to be circumcised and within their rights and showing very good sense in view of the above.

    The government would do well to scrap this circumcision programme immediately

  9. Vergil, biologist May 22, 2013 at 5:10 am #

    “Be a winner, get circumcised” is quite an ill humour.
    Yet, the very nature of HIV/AIDS is another false premise. Not to mention that the African HIV is actually hepatitis, renamed in order the funds to continue their flow. One may enlarge on the subject by seeing the “House of Numbers” film (YouTube) or Circumcision Complex website where other related links are shown.

  10. tk May 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    I had not found time to invest in understanding this circumcision stuff, i almost went for circumcision together with my son who is 17yrs now, but because of time i failed. The comments that have been shared here have helped me appreciate this subject better. I will not get circumcised, never, ever. It is clear that this is just a project where some people a lining their pockets financially. This is cruel and unethical.

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