South Africa: Male Circumcisions on the Rise in Gauteng
PRETORIA, 2 March 2011 — Gauteng has seen an increase in demand for male medical circumcision since the launch of the HIV Counselling and Testing campaign last year.
A total of 13 000 were conducted since April last year, 30 percent above the target for the past year. This was revealed at the Provincial Health Council, a meeting between the MEC for Health and Social Development and members of mayor committees from Gauteng municipalities.
The service is currently available at the following facilities: Zola Community Health Centre, Jubilee, Helen Joseph Hospital, Dr George Mukhari, Kopanong, Dr Yusuf Dadoo, Heidelberg, Sebokeng, Pretoria West, Edenvale, Chris Hani Baragwanath, South Rand, Tambo Memorial Hospitals plus Non-Governmental Organisations clinics, Batho Pele, Zuzimpilo and Zazi.
While circumcision has been shown to reduce the transmission of HIV transmission to men, it is still important for men to take precautions. Condoms should be used even after circumcision. The Department made available 8 903 000 male and 107 680 female condoms in the month of January 2011 alone, freely available at all public health facilities and other public centres.
However, it emphasised that knowing your HIV and that of your partner, abstaining from unprotected sex, faithfulness to one partner remain important methods of stopping the spread of HIV.
Gauteng Health and Social Development MEC, Ntombi Mekgwe, says the department will continue to forge partnerships in campaigns to improve the health of the population.
"We need to encourage women to book their ante-natal classes with clinics within 20 weeks of pregnancy. This will assist in reducing the rate of transmission of HIV from mother to child and thus improve our child mortality rates," said Mekgwe.