Three large clinical trails have convincingly shown that circumcision of young men prevents them from getting HIV.
In Klerksdorp, a partnership between the Perinatal HIV Research Unit and North West Department of Health has created a high volume circumcision clinic capable of doing over 200 circumcisions per week. The clinic is called Gola Monna, which means “grow Men” in seTswana, and is located at the Tshepong Hospital.
Dr Limakatso Lebina, a founder of the clinic said, “This clinic will circumcise men and will ensure that they have lifelong partial protection against HIV”. She explained that, “removal of the foreskin clearly can’t stop all HIV infections but it certainly prevents most. We tell all the men that we circumcise, that they must continue to condomise”.
The clinic has already done over 1000 circumcisions and is gearing to respond to a high winter demand in June and July, when it plans to provide circumcision seven days a week. Dr Variava, a specialist physician and the Head of Medicine at the Tshepong Hospital added that, “working in the wards and treating patients with AIDS and complications of HIV makes me support any intervention that can stop people from getting HIV in the first place. Male circumcision is a scientifically proven method of reducing the risk of acquiring HIV. We encourage all young men to take this opportunity to protect themselves”.
Gola Monna is having a Valentines month special promotion, targeting both men and women. Asked why women should be included, Dr Lebina explains: “women should be involved in decisions about getting a safe circumcision. As mothers of boys and partners of men, they must ensure that the males in their lives are protected from HIV”. She adds, “There is some data to show that women prefer circumcised men. So take a Valentines day decision to get a LoveCut and come in for male circumcision at the clinic”.
The MEC for Health in the North West, Dr Masike will be formally opening the clinic on the 11 February 2013 at 10h00. Dr Masike has provided invaluable support for getting as many young men in the North West Province circumcised. He says, “This is a safe and quick operation, with very little pain. Our communities must encourage all you men from 15 to 45 to come to this new clinic for circumcision.
Statistics about male circumcision
1. Three clinical trails done in Uganda, Kenya and Orange Farm in South Africa showed consistent results that male circumcision reduces the risk for a circumcised heterosexual man.
2. Risk of HIV is reduced by 60% if a man in South Africa is circumcised.
3. In North West Province 18.9% of the entire population is estimated to be HIV-infected and 30.2% of pregnant women are HIV-infected.
4. Men get infected with HIV at an older age than women.
5. The age of first sexual activity in South Africa is 16 years, which highlights the importance of early circumcision.
6. South African Government plans to circumcise over four million men by 2016
7. 114000 young men need to be circumcised in the North West Province over the next two years at all their sites.
8. Gola Monna plans to contribute 19 000 circumcisions to this total.
9. Circumcision is a very safe procedure. Only 1-2% of all circumcisions have a problem – in most instances it is minor and resolved within a few days.
10. Men who are circumcised can go back to school or work the next day.
11. It takes about two hours at the clinic to be circumcised – this includes HIV testing, counselling about circumcision and the procedure itself. The actual circumcision takes about 15 minutes.