KZN to scale up circumcision services

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pretoria - The KwaZulu-Natal Government will be engaging with Amakhosi on the provincial's plan to scale-up the circumcision services at public health facilities.

The meeting, which will take place on Monday, follows a call made by His Majesty King Goodwill Zulu to bring back the custom of male circumcision as part of reducing the scourge of HIV.

His Majesty made the call during Umkhosi wokweshwama (first fruit ceremony) held at his royal palace on 5 December 2009.

Provincial Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize, together with the MECs for Health Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and Cooperative Government and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube will be engaging Amakhosi on His Majesty's call and the Provincial Department of Health's plan to scale up the services.

Dr Dhlomo said that a number of studies have shown that while male circumcision does not provide complete protection against HIV infection, it lowers the risk of heterosexual HIV transmission.

Dhlomo however, warned that circumcised men still become infected with the virus and if HIV positive, they can infect their sexual partners.

"Promoting and providing safe male circumcision does not replace other interventions to prevent heterosexual transmission of HIV but provides an additional prevention," Dr Dhlomo said.

He noted that it was critical to ensure that clear and correct information on the continuing need for other HIV prevention measures is provided.

"This will be necessary to prevent men developing a false sense of security and engaging in high-risk sexual behaviours which could undermine the partial protection provided by male circumcision."

In the coming weeks, Mkhize will be consulting all stakeholders in his endeavour to ensure that careful and balanced information and education underlies the roll-out of a male circumcision campaign. -