Zimbabwe could reduce the number of new adult HIV infections by over 80% in 2025 if the country scales up male circumcision (MC) services, a health official has said.
HIV prevention coordinator, Aids/TB unit in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Getrude Ncube, revealed in a recent health report that increased MC would greatly reduce adult HIV infections.
“Between the period 2009 to 2015, the number of new infections will decline from 90 000 to 16 500 and the cumulative number of adult HIV infections averted could be almost 750 000, if more men go for male circumcision,” she said.
Ncube, however, said neonatal MC would not significantly reduce adult infections.
“Male circumcision of neonatal or babies that have just been born will not contribute to the reduction of new infections, until those boys have grown up and become sexually active,” she said.
The number of men undergoing circumcision continues to increase, with current figures standing at 6 500 since September last year.
In Bulawayo, circumcision uptake as of February stood at 1 531, 63% of whom were aged between 15 and 29 while 36% were over 30 years.
Since September last year the number of males circumcised in various age groups were as follows: 0-14 (3), 15-19 (193) 20-24 (156), 25-29 (381), 30-49 (422), 50 and above (16).
This brought the total to 1 531 males that have been circumcised.
“To date, we have trained 104 doctors and nurses through the national training programme.
“We are facing challenges such as shortage of doctors, counsellors and nurses at some sites,” Ncube said.
The policy of promoting male circumcision was adopted in 2007 but the pilot programme started in 2009.