Govt rules out circumcision for HIV+ men

HARARE - The government-run National Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) programme has ruled-out the nip for HIV-positive men owing to limited resources.

Rudo Chikodzore, Matabeleland South provincial medical director, said HIV-positive men can still be circumcised outside the national programme, at a fee.

“Remember VMMC is centred particularly on preventing negative people from acquiring the HIV virus,” Chikodzore said during a recent media training workshop organised by Population Services International Zimbabwe.

“It is for us to be able to achieve the goal of circumcising 80 percent of HIV negative men by 2017.

“What we have done is, for those HIV-positive men who still want to be circumcised can get it at our hospitals and clinics, since it is being offered at the same sites. They have the equipment and can be booked there. Remember we are saying VMMC is being offered in district hospitals which were already offering circumcisions for other reasons. For resources that are      available, they are for (HIV) negative            men.”

Government is racing to meet the target in the remaining three years with reports indicating that the uptake of VMMC still stands at 4,8 percent since the programme started in 2009.

If the target is achieved, the country is set to save $2,9 billion dollars in care costs related to HIV management.

Chikodzore said including HIV-positive men will automatically translate to increased costs in caring for the wounds.

“If we are to circumcise the positive, we will not be able reach our goal,” she said. “The other problem, particularly on mobile set-ups, is we normally expect them to heal in six weeks but basically with suppressed immune systems, HIV positive men may not heal in time.”

If at least 80 percent of men aged between 15 and 49 are circumcised by 2017, 600 000 new infections could be averted by 2025.

At least 42 percent of all averted new infections would be directly attributable to male circumcision.

Zimbabwe, being among the 14 high priority countries in Africa with a 15 percent national HIV prevalence rate, opted to go the circumcision route after a study found that the procedure reduced the chances of contracting HIV by 60 percent.

However, uptake has been slow as many men were succumbing to myths and fear of the knife. 

Stakeholders are now looking at new devices such as pre-pex, a method which enables non-surgical medical male circumcision, to promote the dreaded procedure in Zimbabwe.

Last year, 112 000 men were circumcised against a national target of 115 000. This year the country intends to circumcise 217 800 men.

Other benefits of VMMC include hygiene, reduced chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and cervical cancer.

Country specific studies have shown that if the set targets are to be achieved in Zimbabwe, one in every four men will be prevented from contracting HIV.

With a 20 million circumcision target, the 14 high priority countries have so far circumcised 6 million men in total.


Comments (7)

Well a misguided policy and thinking, circumcised men can contract the disease, this Rudo chikodzore is not even a doctor.

reason - 22 April 2014

This program was to make us hebrews. There is no proven facts that circumcision stop HIV infection. Mind you HIV+ people also contribute to the aids levy now they are asked to pay for the ARVs why? So,meone introduced circumcision to make money and used a big lie that it stops HIV infection, now they are saying cervical cancer soon they will say flue.

Maita Manyuka - 22 April 2014

Just cut the sticks completely and you are sure to have eliminated the problem. For the purpose of increasing the country's population you can keep healthy "cows" and "bulls" and breed them. That is the way to go pane kuramba muchiti nyangadza. Are you going to remove breasts to prevent breast cancer too?

Gudo - 22 April 2014

Most of the US men who have died of AIDS were circumcised at birth. The only study on male-to-female transmission found that cutting HIV+ men made them 50% more likely to infect their female partners. (Wawer/Gray Uganda 2009).

Ron Low - 22 April 2014

Circumcision isn't even a good idea for HIV- men. 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 - 23 April 2014

Guys let me tell you..... male circumcision is a reliable ,safe and simple procedure which reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 60%...'musanyeperwe'

nicholas chikwaka - 30 April 2014

What's sad is that it is now 7 years later since they started the circumcision push and HIV rates among the cut are higher than normal men who have not been cut. So, getting cut didn't help them. Now what? These are males aged 15-50. They're probably going to have sex with a few partners...But at least they underwent the surgery, right?! *eyeroll*

Jaime P - 15 June 2018

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