Vhembe men learn about circumcision

Vhembe men learn about circumcisionThe latest HSRC survey found that almost half of men 15 years and older surveyed had been circumcised. He majority of young males aged 15–24 years had been circumcised in medical facilities, while older males had been circumcised in traditional settings. File Photo.

Nurses from Limpopo’s Guyuni clinic took time off from the clinic to talk to young men in Helula village about medical male circumcision.

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MMC“I felt that it was very important for me to be part of the team going to the field to talk to the boys about getting circumcised,” said Ndamulelo Nekhumbe, a junior staff member at Guyuni clinic about 160 kms east of Makhado.“It just does not sit well with me when I know that there are many young men who are not yet circumcised in our community.”

Large scale clinical trials in places like Kenya, South Africa, Uganda have shown that medical male circumcision can reduce a man’s risk of contracting HIV by up to 60 percent but assistant clinic manager Muofhe Makhado stressed medical male circumcision could not fully protect men from HIV or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

“We encouraged men to protect themselves from getting infected with HIV and other STIs by either abstaining from sex or using condoms,” Makhado said. “(Circumcision) does not prevent HIV or STIs, it only reduces the risks of getting infected.”

The South African government is hoping to medically circumcise 4.3 million men by 2016. Between 2011 and 2012, about 240,000 men in South Africa underwent the procedure.

Aifheli Ndiambani said he was not aware that circumcision had medical benefits until the clinic staff came and spoke at the village.

“The nurses made me realise that it is important for me to go and get circumcised,” Ndiambani told OurHealth. “I used to think that it was only done for traditional purposes, but I was completely wrong because it also helps to reduce risks of (contracting) sexually transmitted infections.”

Ndavheleseni Negota, 22, has been circumcised and explained that stories of botched traditional circumcisions continue to scare men away from the procedure.

“We have came across many cases around our village of some young men refusing to go and get circumcised because they were scared of death,” Negota said. “Yes, accidents do happen but it is really important for a man to get circumcised.”

“We don’t want to see one of our young men to end up regretting that they should have gone for circumcision when they have already caught an STI,” he added.

Clinical medical male circumcision trials like those conducted in Orange Farm outside Johannesburg had very few reports of adverse effects associated with the operation.

Nzudzanyo Nemaxwi is a medical practitioner at Guyuni clinic. He said that he felt positive about the level of engagement from the village’s young men.

“We managed to gather round a few young men in this village and we succeeded in our aim to inform them,’ he told OurHealth. “We were asked many questions about circumcision, which showed that the young men were interested and that those who were not yet circumcised had taken the advice in consideration.”