Sunday, 24 June 2012

Zimbabwe MPs set aside political differences to promote dangerous circumcision together

In a bizarre show of political unity, forty-four members of Zimbabwe's parliament were circumcised on Friday as part of a misguided drive to beat HIV/AIDS by circumcising men.

This is despite the fact that in 2005 research by USAID found 14.2% of non-circumcised men had HIV compared to 16.6% of circumcised men.

To find out why we oppose the mass circumcision of African men see our blog post ten reasons to stop male circumcision in the fight against AIDS.

Male African MPs had previously resisted calls from female MPs, led by Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, for them to set and example by getting circumcised.

Minister of National Healing Moses Mzila Ndlovu told the BBC's Brian Hungwe in Harare that some of his cabinet colleagues had described Ms Khupe's suggestion as "madness" and "bizarre". "I don't see many takers but I'm not stopping anyone," he said.
Aids experts, however, warned that using a condom, abstaining from sex or being faithful to one partner offer far greater protection against HIV infection.
In a continent where there are already many dangerous beliefs about HIV/AIDS – such as the belief that sex with a virgin cures Aids - ampaigners are also concerned that the practice is spreading a new and dangerous myth that circumcised men cannot catch or pass on Aids.

This belief appears to be held at the highest levels as has been shown by the bizarre case of Botswana’s Assistant Minister of Health, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri who has revealed that he is circumcised amidst allegations that he had unprotected sex with another man’s wife.

He allegedly told the woman in question that he could not expose her to sexually transmitted diseases as he did not have a foreskin.

And in Uganda gangs have taken the misguided public health campaign into their own hands chasing uncircumcised men through the streets with knives and forcibly mutilating the penises of more than 200 men.

Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, the MPs from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's join forces to get circumcised giving further credibility to the dangerous belief that circumcision prevents Aids.

1 comment:

  1. Until I actually see these politicians on an operating table and the bloodied flesh, I'm not buying it. This says paid-for propaganda all over it.

    It must be noted that the photo of the "unidentified politician in Harare" in the following link is a stock photo used in other circumcision/HIV stories.

    "Unidentified?" Why? Where's the "stand?"