The National Strategic Plan must recognise Medical Male Circumcision in all Provinces

Know your Male Circumcision Facts!

The SANAC Men’s Sector Policy Summit recommended that the NSP 2012-2016 should recognize both Medical Male Circumcision and the scale up of Traditional Circumcision Act in all provinces.

What is male circumcision?

Male circumcision is the surgical complete removal of the foreskin covering the end of the penis so as to permanently expose it.

What are the advantages of male circumcision? Safe male circumcision has many advantages that include:

  1. Reduced risk of HIV infection
  2. A lowered risk of acquiring some sexually transmitted infections, especially ulcerative diseases (that are also known to enhance HIV transmission) like chancroid and syphilis.
  3. Reduced risk for developing penile cancer among circumcised males and an equally reduced risk of developing cancer of cervix among their female partners both of which are associated with infections by cancer inducing types of human papiloma virus.

MC is also protective against other medical conditions that include reduced risk of acquiring urinary tract infections, prevention of inflammation of glans (balanitis) and the foreskin (posthitis), absence of health problems associated with presence of foreskin such as phimosis (inability to retract foreskin) or paraphimosis (swelling of the retracted foreskin that leads to inability to return it to normal position), and circumcised men maintain penile hygiene with ease.

There is no evidence at all that postoperatively when the operation is thoroughly healed the circumcised man’s capacity to engage in successful sexual intercourse and fulfilment would be diminished.

How long does the operation take?

The operation takes between 15 and 30 minutes. The time taken to carry out the procedure is dependent on age, condition of the foreskin, method of pain relief, and experience of the health worker carrying out the operation. Ordinarily (more often than not) it is a very simple and straightforward Procedure that is not attended with any problems at all.

Is it safe to have unprotected sex after male circumcision?

No. It is not safe at all to have unprotected sex because male circumcision does not provide complete protection against HIV infection. However, when male circumcision is combined with other methods of safer sex such as use of condoms, the reduction of sexual partners and abstinence from sexual activities the risk is reduced. Furthermore, under no condition is unprotected sex safe. It is critical that those who are newly circumcised observe the 6 weeks healing period before engaging in sexual activities. Male circumcision is part of the comprehensive package of protection against HIV transmission.