Circumcision does not replace condoms

Written by Cynthia Maseko

Mpumalanga – When Thabo Ngobeni was circumcised a few years ago he thought he could stop using condoms because he was now protected against HIV.

“Before the circumcision I always used condoms but afterwards I had unprotected sex with my partners because I misunderstood everything the doctor and nurses said at the hospital about the purpose of circumcision. I thought after my wound had properly healed it was 100% safe for me and my partner to have unprotected sex.”  

Soon after his circumcision Ngobeni, who is now 19, discovered he was HIV-positive and has started taking ARVs.

Safe sex practices

According to a local GP in Ermelo, male circumcision is effective when it’s combined with other safe sex practices, such as using condoms, reducing sexual partners and the safest sex of all – abstinence. The doctor said it was very important to continue using condoms after circumcision.  

Sister Zanele Zwane, a nurse, said men can enquire at any clinic or hospital about circumcision. In most cases, the local clinic will refer the patient to a feeder hospital. Most clinics in Mpumalanga encourage men to be circumcised and have specific days when the hospital either sends doctors to the clinic to perform the circumcision or transport the patients to the hospital.

Zwane said all surgeries have some level of risk but risks associated with circumcisions are low. – Health-e News

About the author

Cynthia Maseko

Cynthia Maseko joined OurHealth in 2013 as a citizen journalist working in Mpumalanga. She is passionate about women’s health issues and joined Treatment Action Campaign branch as a volunteer after completing her matric. As an activist she has been involved with Equal Treatment, Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and also with Marie Stopes Clinic’s project Blue Star dealing with the promotion of safe abortions and HIV education.