27 April 2014

Tanzania: More Men Need to Face Cut

IN a bid to curb new HIV infection in men, government will carry out a medical male circumcision exercise targeting sexually active men in the non-circumcising and high prevalence regions.

The programme will be implemented under the Third Multi-Sectoral Strategic Framework for HIV/AIDS 2013/14-2017/18 designed to guide the country's multi-sectoral response to HIV/AIDs.

Speaking with reporters in Dar es Salaam recently, Advocacy Officer with Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS), Mr Simon Keraryo said the programme targets both young and old men.

The regions include Rukwa, Mbeya, Iringa, Kagera, Mwanza, Tabora, Shinyinga, Njombe, Geita, Simiyu, Katavi and Rorya District in Mara Region. Commenting on the motive behind the programme, Mr Keraryo said it believed that circumcised men have a lower risk of contacting HIV or infecting women.

According to Mr Keraryo, the 2012/15 National Strategy on Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision HIV prevalence among circumcised men was 3.5 per cent compared with 5.2 per cent of uncircumcised in Tanzania Mainland by 2013.

Through the strategy, the circumcision had targeted to circumcise 2,800,000 adults in 12 priority Regions by 2015, however the programme circumcised only 15 per cent of the targeted men (415, 398) by December 2012.

Overall, 70 per cent of men and boys in the country are circumcised, though more men in urban settings are circumcised.

Male circumcision is lowest in Rukwa with 28 per cent, Simiyu 30 per cent, and Shinyanga with 32 per cent while the corresponding HIV prevalence in the same regions is 6, 3.6 and 7.4 per cent respectively.

Commenting on the Third Muti-Sectoral Strategy Framework 2013/14-2017/18, Mr Keraryo said that the framework aims at attaining the three zeros on HIV infections, discrimination and HIV/AIDS related deaths by 2018.

"The framework will emphasise on various prevention issues such prevention of new HIV infections with a special focus on women, youth and populations at higher risk," he noted.

Commenting on the implementation of the Framework, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Donan Mmbando said that processes are underway to acquire global funds to facilitate the implementation of the plans.

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