I see that male circumcision is being peddled once again in Swaziland as a solution to the HIV crisis.
Swaziland’s Deputy Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula has come out to say,‘The research evidence that MC [male circumcision] can reduce heterosexual transmission of HIV is overwhelming. The efficacy of reducing female to male transmission of HIV has been beyond reasonable doubt.’ [This is a direct quote from the Swazi Observer; I assume the newspaper left out the word ‘proved’ in error]
The Observer today (1 October 2008)reports that the Swaziland Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is currently preparing a male circumcision policy which will sensitise most men about circumcision and further guide medical experts on how to go about circumcising them.
It is alarming just how ignorant people can be about male circumcision and the fact that Swaziland’s deputy director of health services seems to be unaware that for every one expert who claims that male circumcision helps prevent HIV infection there is another who says the opposite, casts doubts on his suitability for the job.
There is extensive debate in the medical community about circumcision and HIV and it is simply not true as Magagula claims that its efficacy has been proved ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
HIV AIDS is quite literally killing Swaziland which has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world and average life expectancy of about 31 years. It is vital that people are educated about HIV and its transmission. For someone of Magagula’s rank to make such an irresponsible statement about circumcision and for the Observer to report it under the headline The Cut That Can Save a Nation is totally irresponsible and sends Swaziland a little closer to the grave.