Circumcision numbers rise

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The number of men responding to the circumcision call has doubled, health officials have said.
At least 87 858 males were circumcised across the country from January to October this year.
The circumcision call has seen local celebrities like Sulumani, Jah Prayzah and Winky D, among others, exhorting the eligibles for the procedure that is said to reduce chances of HIV infection by 60 percent.
Last year recorded 40 755 males that visited the centres dotted nationwide and officials have said the numbers have risen to an estimated 90 000.
“The rise has been attributed to the increase in facilities offering the operation with male circumcision now performed at provincial, district and mission hospitals and stand-alone centres,” an official in the AIDS and Tuberculosis Unit said.
Despite the fervent campaign and the rising statistics the nation still did not meet the 2013 target of 115 000.
The Government is targeting to circumcise 217 800 people next year.
The national target was to circumcise three million men by 2015 since the launch of the programme in November 2009 as a way to target the sexually active group.
Local medical authorities are still struggling to get men to circumcision centres dotted throughout the country.
Although the belief in society that the stigma to HIV and AIDS that existed since its discovery in the eighties is gone, the reality on the ground shows that this might not be true.
Before one is circumcised there is need for the individual to get tested. The surgical procedure can then commence once the patient has been confirmed negative.
A substantial number of the population is still afraid to get tested and know their HIV status.
The World Health Organisation also recommended nations with high HIV endemic rates to consider circumcision as part of a comprehensive HIV control programme.
The Zimbabwe Government introduced VMMC as a way of reducing HIV and other sexually-transmitted diseases after evidence had demonstrated that circumcision reduced chances of men contracting HIV by 60 percent.
Yet there have been allegations that due to the possible reduction in HIV prevalence due to circumcision men were becoming promiscuous.
Bulawayo had the highest number of males circumcised with 18 percent compared to 5,0 percent in Midlands, Mashonaland Central, and Mashonaland West provinces.
The increase in Bulawayo was a result of various initiatives in raising awareness of the advantages of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC).
Authorities have said the Government will be increasing the number of teams trained to provide VMMC in provinces with low percentages of circumcised males.
Circumcision has been suggested as an effective method of maintaining penile hygiene since the time of the Egyptian dynasties.
Medical experts have confirmed that circumcision reduces urinary tract infections in children by almost 100 percent and cervical cancer in women whose partners are circumcised.
Among the health benefits realised are protection from Human Papilloma Virus which has been recognised as the cancer causative.
It thrives under and on the foreskin from where it can be transmitted during intercourse.
Health authorities have confirmed that the skin on the head of the male organ becomes harder after circumcision and is less likely to bruise, making it more difficult for HIV to enter.
The opposite is true, an uncircumcised male’s foreskin that is soft and moist and more likely to tear and create sores that allow HIV and other sexually transmitted infections to enter the body more easily.
Most males are afraid that the myths about circumcision are true and they will not participate in more procreation activities but experts have revealed that the organ will be odour-free, will feel cleaner, and they can enjoy better sex.
NEW ZIANA/the patriot

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