Who’s For and Who’s Against Circumcision for HIV Prevention

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(Newswire.net — May 11, 2017) — “It was a terrible pain I will never forget,” said Prince Hillary Maloba from Kenya, who was circumcised in his childhood in line with the tradition in his country.

He finds scandalous that some international organizations have in recent years promoted circumcision of young males is an effective strategy in fighting HIV, reports Deutsche Welle.

“How is that possible? Children and male are circumcised in my country, Muslims circumcise their children, but they are still dying of HIV,” Maloba said in Berlin this week.

With his Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) Experience Project, the activist fights mass circumcision campaign for HIV prevention.

His opinion is shared by a German association of humanitarian organizations, which demands an immediate stop to mass circumcision of minor males in Africa.

As part of its effort, the association established the World Wide Day of Genital Autonomy (WWDOGA), May 7.

On the other side, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have a different view of the matter. On its website, the WHO has posted research results, showing that the risk of HIV infection in circumcised men is decreased by 60 percent.

The WHO plans to see 90 percent of men aged between 20 and 29 circumcised by 2021, in a campaign supported by Bill Gates, a co-founder of Microsoft. “It is a great challenge, but it’s worth it,” Gates said at an international AIDS conference in South Africa’s city of Durban last year.

Circumcision, according to the WHO, should be on a voluntary basis and approved by parents. Also, it has do be performed with appropriate instruments and by experts.

But activists like Maloba from Kenya, argue that these rules are not respected. He says that some organizations promote circumcisions in schools and that they sometimes give candies, toys or money to children to talk them into going to circumcision centers.

His colleague Kennedy Owino Odhiambo, from the organization Intact Kenya, said that his family has had such an experience. His nephew was circumcised in 2014, against his will. Neither his mother nor his grandmother signed a written consent form. The boy was crying in pain and was unable to answer to his questions, Owino said.

Therefore activists demand different measures be applied in HIV prevention. They cite the example of Uganda, where the problem has been successfully solved with the ABC formula: Abstain, be faithful, use a condom.