Harare — ZIMBABWE needs to circumcise 1,2 million men by 2015 if the male circumcision intervention against the spread of HIV is to have a national impact, a senior Health and Child Welfare Ministry official has said.
Under the pilot circumcision programme that started in 2007, over 5 000 men have been circumcised.
Addressing a two-day workshop on the male circumcision rollout strategy last week, head of the ministry's Aids Tuberculosis Unit Dr Owen Mugurungi said there was need to circumcise a critical mass. Male circumcision reduces chances of contracting HIV by 60 percent.
It must be complemented by condom use, abstinence and faithfulness to one partner.
"MC is not vaccination. It only makes a difference if only done on a critical mass," he said.
There is no direct advantage in circumcising HIV positive males, the workshop heard. Dr Mugurungi said: "If we continue without MC, 95 000 men will be infected each year.
"If we do MC, less than 20 000 will be infected," he said.
MC focal person in the Health Ministry Dr Sinokuthemba Xaba said emphasis should be on circumcising the 15 to 29-year age group, as it was the most affected by HIV and Aids.
"We need impact today," he said.
Workshop participants advocated for more resources and payment of incentives to health personnel performing the procedure following reports that some centres had closed because of lack of funding.
The workshop drew participants from the Health Ministry, district and provincial hospitals, NGOs, the private sector and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.