Back grey_arrow_rt.gif
 
 
More circumcised men are HIV positive
 
 
  By MUSA SIMELANE on September 19,2010
http://www.times.co.sz
 
MBABANE - Even though male circumcision is considered to have a protective effect for HIV infection, circumcised men have a slightly higher HIV infection than those who are not.
 
The Times SUNDAY can today reveal that government has known this for close to three years.
 
It is contained in the Swaziland Demographic and Health Survey (SDHS) of 2007 which still prevails.
 
This report summarises findings of the 2006 survey carried out by the Swaziland Central Statistical Office (SCO).
 
The report places the infection rate for circumcised males at 22 per cent while for those uncircumcised stands at 20 per cent.
 
HIV stands for Human Immuno Deficiency Virus. It is the virus that can cause the acquired immuno deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
 
The report states that the protective aspect of male circumcision is based in part because of the physiological differences that increase the susceptibility to HIV infection among uncircumcised men. However, the relationship between HIV prevalence and circumcision is not in the expected direction.
 
"It is worth noting that the relationship between male circumcision and HIV infection may be confounded by the fact that the circumcision may not involve the full removal of the foreskin, which provides partial protection," stated the report.
 
But additional analysis is needed to determine if this lack of a relationship between male circumcision and HIV infection is a result of confounding factors or represents the true situation.
 
In 2007 government introduced a policy on male circumcision, which has a goal of halting the spread of HIV infection to achieve an HIV-free generation.
 
Cited in the report is that to meet this objective, male circumcision services, as part of the national comprehensive HIV prevention package, would have to be availed to men of all ages.
 
To maximise the health benefit for HIV prevention, the primary targets of the services are men who are HIV-negative, in the age bracket of 15-24 and also newborn babies.
 
Additional information collected by the SDHS in the 2006 to 2007 period revealed that eight per cent of men age 15-49 were circumcised.
 
"Older men are markedly more likely than younger men to have been circumcised, which the rate peaking at 20 per cent among men aged 35 -39 years. Urban men (13 per cent) are more than twice as likely to be circumcised compared with rural men (six per cent)," said the report.
 
Also discovered is that the rate of circumcision among men is slightly higher in the Hhohho and Manzini regions compared with the rate in Shiselweni and Lubombo.
 
Meanwhile, the belief that circumcision can provide a considerable measure of protection against HIV infection has been questioned by academicians and medical professionals of repute.
 
Last week Occupational Health Specialist Dr Cleopas Sibanda questioned the rationale of circumcision to justify it being adopted as part of the national HIV and AIDS prevention strategy.
 
"What exactly happened in Uganda as far as HIV and AIDS and population demographics are concerned to correctly attribute the observed previous decline in their national HIV and AIDS statistics to wholesale male circumcision?" Sibanda was quoted as having asked.
 
But he noted that circumcision for the wrong reasons can be very dangerous, in fact it has increased episodes of diminished consistent use of condoms and increased incidences of HIV and AIDS affected populations.
 
Three primary sites where circumcision is performed
 
* PSI's Litsemba Letfu Clinic in Matsapha
 
* Family Life Association (FLAS) Mbabane
 
* Manzini Nazarene Hospital
 
--------------------------
 
Hhohho youth take more risks
 
MBABANE - Young people living with HIV are more likely to have been more recently infected compared to adults.
 
The Swaziland Demographic and Health Survey (SDHS) of 2007 report observed that statistics on variation of HIV prevalence among the youth were critical in understanding the patterns of recent HIV infections.
 
Statistics collected between 2006 and 2007 pointed that 14 per cent of young people were infected with HIV.
 
The prevalence of HIV was nearly four times higher among young women than among young men, which stood at 23 per cent and six per cent respectively.
 
"HIV infection rates are higher among married or cohabiting youth than among unmarried youth. As expected, young pregnant women have a higher infection rate than young non-pregnant women, which is 35 per cent compared with 22 per cent," explained the report.
 
Furthermore, HIV prevalence among youth living in urban areas was slightly higher than that of rural areas, which stood at 18 per cent compared with 13 per cent.
 
Hhohho youth have the highest prevalence compared with those from other regions.
 
The report cited that the HIV prevalence among the small numbers of youth with no education is more than five times higher than that of youth with more than secondary education, which stood at 32 per cent compared with six per cent.
 
"Among young women with no education, one in two is infected, while 13 per cent of young men with no education are infected," explained the report.
 
 
 
 
  icon paper stack View Older Articles   Back to Top   www.natap.org