Men, get circumcised! Women encourage your sons, brothers, husbands, relatives and friends to get circumcised! There is overwhelming scientific evidence that circumcision can protect men from HIV transmission and other sexually transmitted infections.
It is that time of year when we collectively as families, friends, communities, churches, organisations, schools, governments and nations around the world raise awareness about HIV and Aids, remember those past and support those present with HIV, celebrate our progress and plan a sustainable future. The theme from 2011-2015 is â€˜Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero Aids-related deathsâ€™.Â
The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAids) outlines 10 goals for 2015. For instance â€˜Zero tolerance for gender-based violenceâ€™, but after reading UNAids World Aids Day Report 2012, despite Malawi making progress in reducing Aids-related deaths by a third and new infections dropping by 73 percent between 2001 and 2011, the most startling statistic is that less than five percent of the target number of men have been voluntarily circumcised by end of 2011.
Malawi has been extremely slow in implementing a policy on voluntary male circumcision. A national policy was only launched in September this year by the deputy Minister of Health, Halima Daudi. The target: circumcise 80 percent of sexually active men aged between 15 and 49 by 2015.
There is strong scientific evidence that circumcised men are less vulnerable to HIV infection via heterosexual intercourse than uncircumcised men.
Laboratory studies have found that the inner surface of the foreskin has a thick tissue that transports HIV from the skin surface into the bloodstream. The area under the foreskin can also trap infections acquired during sex and increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
A study by University of Michigan found that Malawian men face several stumbling blocks when it comes to voluntary medical male circumcision: the cost, loss of income during the recovery period, fear of the surgery and poor access to services.Â
Most men receive incorrect information from their male peers. Hopefully, now with the launch of programmes, well-serviced dedicated clinics and awareness campaigns, more men will feel confident to get circumcised.