Uganda Sees Rise in Non-Tribal Circumcisions; Government Developing Plan To Promote Procedure in Effort To Reduce Spread of HIV
An increasing number of men from tribes in Uganda and other parts of East Africa that traditionally do not practice circumcision have undergone the procedure, prompting the government to begin developing a plan to promote male circumcision as a method of curbing the spread of HIV, AFP/Mail & Guardian reports. Alex Opio of the country's Ministry of Health said that male circumcision has "overwhelming support in the country" and that the ministry hopes to begin the program by targeting adolescent males, circumcising them before they become sexually active. Kihumuro Apuuli, head of the Uganda AIDS Commission, said the government decided to go forward with the program despite some concerns surrounding male circumcision and HIV/AIDS because "if you get an intervention that can contribute to the reduction of infections, you have to support it." He also said the government does not plan to advocate methods of circumcision already practiced by some tribes because the "ceremonies associated with that ritual are not safe. Using the same knife on different people. Having sex before the wounds heal. We are talking about safe circumcision." Geofrey Natubu -- vice chair of the Bududa District, where male circumcisions already are practiced -- said he would like to see more tribes embrace the procedure. "If it is true that is one of the preventive measures against HIV/AIDS, then it is better for us all to take it, irrespective of the way through which you do it. You can do it the way you want," he said. Natubu said that the community about 10 years ago recognized the threat of HIV/AIDS and began using one knife per circumcision (Simon, AFP/Mail & Guardian, 10/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.