A progress report from the Ministry of Health regarding safe male circumcision says the number of men turning up for the surgery still remains relatively low. This is despite a massive campaign launched to help reduce the chances of transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections during intercourse.
Male Circumcision is one of the oldest and most common surgeries that have been practiced all over the world for cultural, religious, social and medical reasons. After extensive global research, the Ministry of Health took the initiative to use Safe Male Circumcision as an effort to “halt and reverse” the HIV Aids pandemic in Botswana.┬á
“The onus is on us to prevent the propagation of the virus because the treatment process through anti-retroviral therapy is expensive and unsustainable and at some point Botswana would not be able to afford it,” said Dr Tebogo Madidimalo of the Department of HIV/Aids Prevention and Care.
When questioned on the role the foreskin played in the body and what threats were posed by removing it, Dr Ali Ali, also from the same department, explained that the foreskin was there to protect the penis head and now with the advent of clothing, there was minimal need for it. Dr Ali dispelled the myth that circumcised men could freely engage in unprotected sex.
Circumcision only reduced the possibility to get infected by 60 percent. Dr Ali further explained that HIV can only survive in fluids with CD4 cell receptors which are predominantly located in the fore skin and the opening of the cervix. Tests have proven that the virus has a larger chance of developing in the foreskin than it does in the cervix opening.
Joseph Kefas of the National Aids Coordinating Agency also dispelled another myth, that of circumcision curbing the enjoyment of intercourse by stating that, “The benefits of getting circumcised outweigh the disadvantages conveyed by the belief that a man does not enjoy sex when circumcised.”
A national drive, beginning in Maun and ending in Gaborone, to further preach the benefits of getting circumcised will begin and more health workers have been trained to increase staff and effectiveness. Apart from pain and inability to have intercourse for 6 weeks after the procedure there is no eminent danger for the patients.