Durban- In an effort to combat the scourge of HIV and Aids, over 2 million men will be circumcised in KwaZulu-Natal, said Premier Zweli Mkhize.
Delivering the Royal Household Budget vote on Thursday, Mkhize said this initiative had received overwhelming support from HIV activists and the medical fraternity.
The initiative will be launched on April 11 by King Goodwill Zwelithini and KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo.
The king announced the revival of male circumcision last year during the umkhosi wokweshwama (first fruit) ceremony.
"The king has used several occasions in public addresses to clarify the call he made not to suggest that male circumcision is a cure for HIV infection, but it is an additional effort that improves hygiene and may in the long term impact in the reduction of the spread of infection," said Mkhize.
In late 2006, two randomised controlled trials on whether male circumcision reduces HIV transmission were halted because interim results showed an overwhelming protective effect, validating the results from an earlier South African trial conducted in Orange Farm. Based on the weight of the evidence from both observational studies and randomised trials, public health leaders have concluded that male circumcision - when performed by well trained and well equipped health professionals - can significantly reduce the risk of HIV infection among adult men, and thus the number of new infections per year.
"We now have our task cut out for us to circumcise over 2 million males using the safety of professional techniques and encourage HIV pre-testing as Isilo has commanded," he said.