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Circumcised men indulge in risky sexual behaviour

SOME 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.

“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.

Critics have dismissed claims that MC prevents contraction of HIV by at least 60% saying it was “exaggerated”.

Meanwhile, the uptake of the MC remains low with most provinces recording less than 10% uptake.

Mashonaland East recorded the lowest with only 5,4%, Masvingo 8%, while Harare recorded 8,5%.

“We have a shortage of doctors to carry out the procedure and in some areas it has to do with their traditional beliefs,” said Xaba.

“Some traditional circumcisers want to do it on their own but we have made inroads in that area.”

He said the ministry recently collaborated with traditional circumcisers in Mwenezi in Masvingo province where they held successful circumcisions of mainly Shangani boys.

The Shangani tribe has been known to carry out the procedure on their own but over the years they have agreed to work with the government.

“The MC programme has immense benefits if it is scaled up. HIV prevalence would decrease to 4,4% by 2025 compared to an anticipated 7,3%,” said Xaba.

“But if MC is not scaled up investment required is estimated at a discounted value of US$80,8 million by 2025”.

15 Responses to Circumcised men indulge in risky sexual behaviour

  1. Mike Roloff November 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    A wash cloth before and after sex or a clean mouth are equally effective and leave the pleasure zones intact! Or castration! That would eliminate any kind of danger from that source!

    Making it a taboo to compare male with female sexual mutilation is the biggest scandal of the controversy. In both instances the most sensitive and most erogenous zone of the human body is amputated and severely damaged. In both instances, what counts primarily is the cutting of human sexuality. The imposition of control by the patriarchy. A good look at a book on embryology will show the development of the nerves and tissue and how they are the same.

    What is lacking in all the talk about circumcision is discussion of its archeological dimension – that it is the left over of human sacrifice. What kind of god is it that demands that of an infant? If the Bris constitutes the identity of the male, what about the identity of a Jewish girl? Or is this an entirely homosexual ceremony?

    Also, unfortunately it is / has been circumcision that has MADE for no end of anti-semitic sentiments. Freud found that it was the chief reason for unconscious anti-Semitism. And the myths surrounding it are at the core of the “blood libel.” Thus, it’s time to eliminate the Brit Milah because if that is the chief reason for being anti-Semitic or anti-Abrahamic [Islam too practices the rite] then why hang on to this left-over of human sacrifice? that traumatizes the child, cutting off 5,000 nerves, that is the equivalent of female circumcision in the sense that it eliminates everything but the clitoris,and only serves the Ultra Orthodox to maintain their power? After all, reform Judaism sought to eliminate the rite in the 19th century, and Jewish identity depends on being born by a Jewish mother, or converting. Here a link to an archive of the entire German and then some debate, note especially Michael Wolffsohn’s two pieces . Circumcision has been controversial also within Jewry forever.

  2. Marc November 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Dr Dean Edell and others have long said this circumcision campaign is nonsense from the west, if not complete medical fraud. Observational studies in Africa show little difference in HIV between circumcised and uncircumcised men. Men in Europe and Latin America are mostly uncircumcised and have lower HIV rates then men in the US United States Navy found no difference in HIV rates between circumcised and uncircumcised men. There is no excuse to be removing this important sexual organ, that has numerous function, just for this medical farce when we should instead be distributing condoms and awareness.

  3. Roland Day November 10, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    The foreskin contains most of the nerves that provide sexual sensation, so circumcised men enjoy sex less and get less satisfaction from sex. As a result, circumcised are more sexually active and engage in a greater variety of sexual practices than foreskinned men as they seek to obtain sexual satisfaction with an injured and diminished penis.

    Due to this greater amount of sexual activity, circumcised men are more likely that foreskinned men to contract HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and more likely to spread those infections to their sexual partners.

    The male circumcision programmes that are being promoted by WHO and various national governments are doomed to failure. This is already being manifested as a higher incidence of HIV infection is being reported in circumcised men as compared with foreskinned men.

  4. Gary Harryman November 10, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

    Neurologically, the most specialized pressure-sensitive cells in the human body are Meissner’s corpuscles for localized light touch and fast touch, Merkel’s disc cells for light pressure and tactile form and texture, Ruffini’s corpuscles for slow sustained pressure, deep skin tension, stretch, flutter and slip, and Pacinian corpuscles for deep touch and detection of rapid external vibrations. They are found only in the tongue, lips, palms, fingertips, nipples, and the clitoris and the crests of the ridged band at the tip of the male foreskin. These remarkable cells process tens of thousands of information impulses per second and can sense texture, stretch, and vibration/movement at the micrometre level. These are the cells that allow blind people to “see” Braille with their fingertips. Cut them off and, male or female, it’s like trying to read Braille with your elbow. A woman can live without the sensitivity of the visible part of her clitoris. A man can live without the mobile and most sensitive part of his penis. But, both men and women are better off with their natural fine-touch parts intact. And so are their sexual partners.

    • Justin perez November 13, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Flawlessly said.

      I sure wish the neurological argument would be brought up more often, its a silver bullet one I must say. In short, once the detail and nature of mechanoceptors along with the anatomy of the penis is explained, the more and more circumcision is exposed as mutilation.

  5. Fred November 10, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    The sad thing is that all these high sounding ‘experts’ on this subject are very likely uncircumcised and yet have the audacity of speaking on behalf of circumcised men. Well, I was circumcised well after getting married and so I can speak authoritatively about both worlds. Truth is, circumcised men enjoy sex just like uncircumcised men. I can hardly tell the difference. So, the theory that circumcised men are more promiscuous is totally false. What seems, unfortunately to be true is that, circumcised men are more likely to engage in unprotected sex than uncircumcised men, due to their 60% chance of not contracting HIV. What is needed is education and more awareness campaigns for all, circumcised or not. Abstinence and sticking to one sexual partner, are arguably the best options. By the way, even with the use of condoms there is a chance of contracting HIV, due to poor/improper use, malfunction or use of damaged condoms.

    • Hugh7 November 11, 2013 at 6:11 am #

      Fred, you can speak only for yourself. Many men report that getting circumcised in adulthood was the worst decision they ever made, “like going colourblind”. There are many reasons this is the more likely outcome.

      “their 60% chance of not contracting HIV” is a complete misinterpretation of those three flawed studies. In fact, they circumcised a total of 5,400 men and left a similar number to wait. After less than two years, 64 of the circumcised men had HIV, 73 fewer than the other group. That is the WHOLE basis of the claim, but there are many reasons this can not be extrapolated to the general population.

  6. Hugh7 November 11, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    Why is anyone the least bit surprised? We predicted this as soon as the suggestion was first made that circumcision should be used “to protect against HIV”. What on earth else did anyone expect. Men will only listen to what they want to hear, and all they hear is “Getting circumcised protects you … against HIV …”.

    In fact “… but you still have to go on wearing the condoms” is a crazily mixed message that nobody can make sense of, because if you use condoms, what difference can circumcision possibly make? And it’s still a good question.

  7. Hugh7 November 11, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    “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 “ compared to TWELVE percent of those uncircumcised.” A 2005 survey found 16.6% and 14.2%.. In other words, circumcision confers no protection whatsoever.

  8. TM November 11, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    The problem is that the honchos at the MoH, amidist severe underfunding, see circumcision as the only tool in the AIDS prevention toolbox. This tool works together with other methods of prevention.

    • Hugh7 November 11, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      It works the way the nail in the old story of “nail soup” worked – quite literally, It contributes nothing at all to the “soup” (HIV prevention) driectly, but attracts the vegetables and other ingredients (funding, education and real prevention services – and the attention of the clients) that do the actual work.

  9. Tal November 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    Top 3 reasons I keep hearing in favor of mutilating defenseless infant boys –

    The USA has the highest circumcised population in the industrialized world. Here are the STI rates of the USA as of 2008, Source CDC:
    STI’s: 110,197,000
    Population: 304,100,000
    Ratio: 1 in every 2.75 people have an STI in the USA.
    Top 5 STI infections from highest to lowest: HPV, HSV-2, Trichomoniasis, Chlamydia, ***HIV***.

    Rate of UTI’s in boys: as low as 1 in 100 or as high as 1 in 50.
    Rate of UTI’s in girls: 1 in 10.
    Girls are given antibiotics to fight UTI’s. They do not have flesh amputated from their bodies.

    Penile cancer:
    This cancer is one of the most rarest forms of cancer, if not THE rarest. More men contract breast cancer than penile cancer. And it should be mentioned; Europe has a very low circ population and do we hear/see reports of penile cancer, or STI’s or UTI’s? Nope.

    All the “pro’s” you hear about RIC is a lie. There is nothing “pro” about performing surgical amputation on a healthy individual, let alone an infant who’s body is still under heavy development.

    The ‘reasons’ for circ’ing infants are not reasons, they are excuses.

  10. Jamie November 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    This circumcision-prevents-HIV nonsense has gone far enough. We’ve wasted millions, if not billions, of dollars on this useless surgery and all it’s doing is giving men a false sense of security, which places them at a higher risk of HIV. Condoms and abstinence are the only way to protect yourself against HIV. Period.

  11. SteveG November 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    Dear “Our staff”
    You should look for Kenyan men circumcised as part of the HIV campaigns who are unhappy with the result – ie they have noticed a loss of sexual sensation since getting cut. They exist. This is a hidden aspect of what is happening in Africa right now, and we need to know about it – particularly other African men as yet uncut who are tempted to fall for the scam and who are not being fully informed.

    • HG November 13, 2013 at 6:54 am #

      WHO and other groups are making loads of money off this hoax. Supplying condoms to those poor areas would be a much greater benefit to reduce spreading the disease.

      How about- “removing the breasts of women at age 18 cuts cancer rates to almost zero.”
      Now how do you think that would go over?

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