22 July 2012

Zimbabwe: Stamps Scoffs At Circumcision

Photo: Edward Echwalu
Each circumcision requires the presence of at least two health workers

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's health advisor, Timothy Stamps, has rubbished claims that male circumcision reduces HIV and Aids prevalence rate at a time the country had embarked on a foreskin cutting crusade, ostensibly to lessen chances of contracting the deadly disease.

The former minister of health said circumcision did not make any difference to the adult prevalence rate, noting researches had shown that countries with a higher number of circumcised men, like the US, also had a high HIV prevalence rate.

He said instead of channelling funds towards circumcision, the money must be used to save pregnant mothers who die in huge numbers in this country.

"When we are losing 960 mothers for every 100 000 pregnancies, should circumcision be a priority?" said Stamps.

He said circumcision had led to men being more reckless in sleeping around.

"Young men are happier to take risks and chances without the use of condoms or any other preventive measures because they are told circumcision will protect them," he said.

Last week, the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare insisted that circumcision helped in the reduction of HIV infection.

It said evidence of randomised controlled trials conducted in 2007 in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa demonstrated that male circumcision reduced the risk of female to male sexual transmission of HIV by 60%.

"It is therefore important to recognise that male circumcision does not eradicate the chances of acquiring HIV but reduces by 60%, meaning that there is still a 40% chance of acquiring HIV."

Copyright © 2012 Zimbabwe Standard. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.