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08 November 2010

Circumcision records low HIV+ rate

Over 99% of a group of more than 17,000 men circumcised in KwaZulu-Natal had tested negative for HIV, the provincial health department said.

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Over 99% of a group of more than 17,000 men circumcised in KwaZulu-Natal had tested negative for HIV, the provincial health department said.

"We have circumcised 17,690 men and we are pleased to report that 99.5% tested negative for HIV," the department's Dr Sbongile Zungu said.

Zungu was speaking during a workshop on the province's circumcision programme, attended by Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini and other traditional leaders.

The KwaZulu-Natal government started a massive circumcision programme earlier this year, following a call by Zwelithini for a revival of traditional male circumcision to help reduce HIV infections.

The circumcisions are performed at health and education institutions throughout the province.

The workshop was also attended by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize.

Urging other provinces to follow

Motsoaledi commended the KwaZulu-Natal government for rolling out the programme and urged other provinces to follow suit.

"No other province has done what you have done. I am very impressed. I am saying to other provinces please adopt this method," he said.

He said he was happy that no one had been hurt during circumcisions.

His comments followed criticism from the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society and the Treatment Action Campaign, who said that while they supported male medical circumcision, they had concerns about the Tara KLamp.

They said the plastic device was associated with a very high rate of unpleasant events and pain compared to the standard medical forceps-guided circumcision technique.

Motsoaledi said he was happy that young men were also taught about HIV during circumcision camps.

(Sapa, November 2010)

 

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