Circumcision not license for promiscuity: Nyathi

HARARE - Veteran poet Albert Nyathi says Zimbabwe’s circumcised population must not use the status as a licence to immorality.

Nyathi, who was circumcised on Thursday together with Peter ‘Young Igwe’ Moyo, at Lobengula Community Hall, wants circumcised men to continue using protection during sex.

“Don’t go around saying now I can sleep with anyone because I have been circumcised thinking you will not contract HIV,” said the popular poet.

“I urge you all to continue protecting yourself and your partners. I have not only done this for myself but to protect my wife from contracting cervical cancer.”

Nyathi and Moyo, who were circumcised using the prepex device procedure, are now Population Services International (PSI) Zimbabwe voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) ambassadors.

Nyathi’s 13-year-old son, Mthabisi, also underwent the surgical circumcision procedure becoming PSI’s youngest “champion” while his father is ironically the oldest ambassador.

Young Igwe said fear is the main reason why the uptake of VMMC is still low in the country.

“I want to thank Jah (Prayzah) my brother for inspiring me to do this. I was afraid, nobody wants to hear about surgery and the theatre table but after I understood the procedure through friends and medical staff, I realised it is fine,” Moyo said.

“I hope to inspire others as we join the fight against HIV and cervical cancer. It feels so good to have done this.”

Nyathi and Moyo will go for at least seven weeks without sex. According to experts, the Prepex method involves a device being fastened around the male organ to starve the foreskin and is faster, bloodless and less painful than the other procedure.

Sandra Ndebele, Chase Skuza, Jah Prayzah, Suluman Chimbetu and disc jockey Thabani Gambiza gave solidarity speeches during the event which was attended by several government officials and traditional leaders.

Zimbabwe launched a massive circumcision campaign in 2009 targeting at least 1,3 million men by 2015 in a bid to stem the rise in new HIV infections across the country. The deadline has since been extended to 2017.

Zimbabwe is carrying out a major campaign to circumcise about 80 percent of young men after a study found that the procedure reduced the chance of contracting HIV by 60 percent.

HIV rates prevalence in Zimbabwe is considered high at 13,7 percent of men aged under 49 but only 10 percent circumcised.

Karin Hatzold, PSI deputy country director, admits that VMMC is still fairly an unfamiliar procedure in Zimbabwe.

“Male circumcision has the potential to prevent 600 000 new HIV infections in men women and children in Zimbabwe over the next 15 years if it is scaled up to reach 1,3 million men by 2017,” she said.

“The task is not easy as VMMC is not commonly practiced in Zimbabwe, some men are still unaware of its multiple benefits in preventing HIV and STIs, cancers of the male and female reproductive organ, improving hygiene and many other benefits,” she said.

At least 250 000 men have so far been circumcised.

Comments (1)

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 dot com) There are at least nine other African countries where men are *more* likely to be HIV+ if they've been circumcised. Why then is male circumcision being promoted to prevent HIV? 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?

Mark Lyndon - 13 April 2014

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