Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Health Reporter
ABOUT 13 300 men were circumcised last year in Bulawayo amid reports that only 31 percent of the sexually active age group accessed the service which can reduce the risk of contracting HIV by up to 60 percent.
The voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) campaign was launched in 2009, aiming for 1,3 million men by 2018.
To date only about 1,1 million men have been circumcised countrywide.
According to the National Aids Council, (Nac) the province recorded a fluctuating trend in the number of males circumcised between the first and the fourth quarters last year.
“A total of 13 332 were circumcised in 2019 and the figures kept fluctuating throughout the whole year. The third quarter recorded the highest number of males circumcised in the year where 4 616 men underwent the procedure,” read the report.
During the first quarter, 1 952 men were circumcised, 4 340 in the second quarter and 2 444 in the fourth quarter.
“The 10-12 age group recorded the highest proportion of males circumcised, accounting for almost half the males circumcised. This is the school going age group that is already mobilised and easy to reach,” read the same report.
Males aged between 15 and 19 years constituted 20 percent, while the 20 to 29 group recorded 11 percent of the total.
Zimbabwe is one of UNAIDS’ priority countries for the scale up of VMMC and the procedure is being listed in the country’s prevention strategy.
According to the World Health Organisation, while male circumcision has been found to reduce the female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV, circumcised men can still become infected with HIV, and if HIV-positive, can infect others.
“VMMC should never replace other known effective prevention methods and should always be considered as part of a comprehensive prevention package, which includes correct and consistent use of male or female condoms, reduction in the number of sexual partners, delaying the onset of sexual relations, and HIV testing and counselling,” says WHO. — @thamamoe