Uganda: Medics Want Circumcision Added to ABC

Feb 27

Jane Nafula

MEDICS have asked the government to integrate medical circumcision for men into the ABC strategy to further contain the spread of HIV.

The ABC strategy is being used in Uganda to control the HIV/Aids epidemic by promoting abstinence, faithfulness, and condom use.

However, some medics and other professionals are now pushing for the integration of men’s circumcision into the strategy to further contain the spread of the condition.

Researchers recently found out that people circumcised at reputable health centres were less likely to contract the virus than their uncircumcised counterparts or those who are traditionally circumcised.

The executive director of Makerere University’s Institute of Public Service, Mr David Serwadda, told members of the Parliamentary Committee on HIV/Aids on February 22 that there was a need for the government to generate a policy to recognise the role of medical circumcision in the prevention of HIV/Aids along side the ABC strategy.

“We want the government to generate a policy for this service to be provided to the public in a safer manner,” he said.

Prof. Serwadda said if the government failed to come up with a policy on circumcision, the public would carry out risky circumcision and become susceptible to the infection.

He said traditional circumcision was not safe and that this explained why the prevalence of HIV/Aids was still high in communities where traditional circumcision was being done.

Prof. Serwadda said in medical circumcision, the foreskin of the penis was cut off and the remaining skin stitched back. However, in traditional circumcision, the foreskin was cut off and it was not stitched back, leaving a raw area that became prone to infection, especially when a man engaged in unprotected sex before healing.

“Circumcision has very important policy implication s and if for some reason the policy is not formulated, people will go to all categories of people to circumcise them,” he said.

“We really need to be proactive and urge this committee to engage in the circumcision debate as the government formulates a five-year strategic plan on HIV/Aids.”

The Institute of Public Health carried out research and found out that medical male circumcision reduced the risk of contracting HIV through sexual intercourse by 51 per cent. However, there was no guarantee that all circumcised men were safe from infection.

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