Circumcision to save $2,9 billion

Government could save $2,9 billion in HIV treatment costs if the uptake of male circumcision is increased, health experts say.

BY Stephen Chadenga

Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) programme officer in the Health and Child Care ministry, Patience Kunaka said if circumcision is scaled up to 80% of the male population, 42% of new infections would be averted.

“If we could reach 80% male circumcision coverage among men aged between 13 and 29 by 2017 this could lead to 600 000 new infections averted by 2025,” she told a media workshop in Gweru last week.

“This has potential cost savings of $2,9 billion through HIV treatment costs.”

Kunaka said besides reducing chances of men acquiring HIV by 60%, VMMC also reduces the risk of cancer on male sexual reproductive organs, urinary tract infections in young boys, prevention of sexually transmitted illnesses and also assisting in reducing cervical cancer in female partners. She said male circumcision provided an opportunity for men to access sexual and reproductive health information as well as early treatment for those who test HIV positive.

“Male circumcision provides an opportunity of getting tested for HIV helping access to information on how to stay negative and if positive they will get early referral for care and treatment,” Kunaka said.

Government is targetting to circumcise 1,3 million males by 2017, as part of efforts to fight the HIV pandemic.


  1. As the king edges closer for his date with the bucket [to kick it] the vulgar queen starts positioning herself to take over the throne…Time has to come when we say enough of this madness – Zimbabwe. Together we can create a democracy and blast away this evil monarchy straight to hell. To see what role you can play visit httpsdotbackslashbackslash wwwdotfacebookdotcom backslashpagesbackslash UniteddashRepublicdashofdashNewdashZimbabwedashForum backslash1231969226818860 and be sure to tell another Zimbabwean about this.

  2. I understand it has been already dismissed that circumcision reduces rate of infection of HIV. What we ca be told is for on to be circumcised he needs to be screened so once he knows he is negative he would wish to stay so, and if positive he get treated but to say it reduces chances of acquiring HIV is not explaining it well. People need to be educated how it reduces – which to me is by abstinence once one tests negative but if someone thinks he is circumcised and cannot be infected by HIV that is not correct.

    1. Stephen Moreton

      There are several likely mechanisms by which circ reduces female to male transmission of HIV, the main one probably being linked to certain cells on the inside of the foreskin that are targeted by the virus. Take the foreskin away and that route of entry is denied. Of course education is essential, as circ is only partially effective, and circ’d men may think they are now immune. They are not, they have a significant reduction in risk, but they can still catch the virus. So circ on its own must not be relied on, but should be part of a broader approach including encouraging abstinence, faithfulness and condoms.

  3. Many professionals have criticized the studies claiming that circumcision reduces HIV transmission. The investigators did not seek to determine the source of the HIV infections during their studies. They assumed all infections were heterosexually transmitted.

    Many HIV infections in Africa are transmitted by contaminated injections and surgical procedures. The absolute rate of HIV transmission reduction is only 1.3%, not the claimed 60%. Even if the claim were true, based on the studies, about 60 men had to be circumcised to prevent one HIV infection.

    Authorities that cite the studies have other agendas including political and financial. Research shows that circumcision causes physical, sexual, and psychological harm, reducing the sexual pleasure of both partners. This harm is ignored by circumcision advocates. Other methods to prevent HIV transmission (e.g., condoms and sterilizing medical instruments) are much more effective, much cheaper, and much less invasive. Even HIV/circumcision studies advise using condoms. With condoms circumcision adds no benefit to HIV prevention.

    Circumcision will not be “voluntary” when it is forced on children.

    1. Stephen Moreton

      The criticisms have all been rebutted to the satisfaction of all the professional bodies dealing with the epidemic. You are like a creationist claiming that dating of rocks, or evolution, has been criticised, whilst ignoring the multiple debunkings of such nonsense. You also repeat the misleading 1.3% claim. Try a little arithmetic. That 1.3% figure was for the two years of the trial. If maintained (in fact the protective effect seems to rise with time) then, over 20 years it becomes 13%. In a population of a million sexually active men that means 130,000 new infections averted. Do the sums. One doesn’t even need a calculator or knowledge of stats. They are that easy.
      Medical circ does not adversely affect sexual pleasure as multiple studies, including randomised controlled trials, extensive review and meta-analysis all show, not a handful of poor, cherry-picked and often discredited “studies” by anti-circ fanatics. But, of course, it suits you agenda to claim that circ causes harm doesn’t it? It makes circ’d males angry thus drawing them into your movement, and it scares others off getting it done, or having their sons done. So the motivation to lie must be very strong for you people.
      Condoms are only 80% effective, even for consistent use, according to a Cochrane review. And, despite billions of $ thrown at their promotion, many men just will not use them, or use them every time, or use them properly every time they do use them. And some still don’t have regular access to them. Medical circ remains a highly effective weapon in the fight against AIDS, and to continue to attack it with pseudoscience is dishonest, irresponsible, and reprehensible. Have you no shame?

  4. Circumcision has almost zero effect in preventing HIV.
    Nearly a million men in the US have died from AIDS, and more than 90% of them were circumcised.
    The three African studies which showed 60% effectiveness? That was the relative percentage. The actual percentage was 1.3%. Those studies were flawed in the first place…poor controls, and followup was terrible.
    Condoms prevent HIV. Circumcision does almost nothing.

    1. Stephen Moreton

      Nearly all those US men who died of AIDS got it by either homosexual activity, or by contaminated blood or needles. You don’t mention that. Medical circ only protects against female to male heterosexual transmission, and it really is 60% + effective in that regard. You also present the data in a highly misleading way. The 1.3% figure was an absolute risk reduction over the two years of the trial. If maintained (and indications are that, if anything, it actually increases with time) that 1.3% becomes 13% over 20 years. In a population of a million sexually active men that means 130,000 new infections averted. Do the arithmetic. Nor were the studies flawed. The criticisms against them have all been refuted to the satisfaction of the WHO, CDC, UNAIDS, PEPFAR, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and all other professional bodies dealing with this ghastly epidemic. Detailed, point by point rebuttals are freely available on-line, if you’d just bother to look. Medical circ is proving to be one of the most effective weapons in the fight against HIV, yet ignorant anti-circ fanatics, like HIV/AIDS deniers and anti-vaxers, continue to rail against it. You are endangering lives with your pseudoscience, and would happily sacrifice African lives on the altar of “genital integrity” just to further your fetish for the foreskin. Shame on you.

  5. Micah Rosenstein

    As a Jewish homosexual, I prefer a beautiful, circumcised penis to make use of for myself, so I applaud this. Many other homosexuals prefer circumcision also. As we promote circumcision, we will also be introducing greater acceptance and practice of homosexuality, so I wish the people of Zimbabwe well as they embrace circumcision/homosexuality.

  6. Abicia Ushewokunze

    They can make many more cops by stitching together the left over foreskins. . . .

  7. Zimbabwe is one of the 10 countries (out of 18 for which USAID has figures) where more of the CUT men have HIV than the whole men. (They did the survey twice, before and after the cutting campaign began, with the same ratio both times. HIV rates fell, but among the intact as much as the cut, so it was the education, not the cutting, that had the effect, if any.)
    Studies in Uganda have shown that cutting men INcreases the risk to women, already at much greater risk.

    1. Stephen Moreton

      Hugh Young, as has been explained to you (and others) ad nauseam the USAID report you refer to (USAID 22) has data sets too small to be of significance, it relied on self-report (unreliable) and included many men who were subject to unhygienic tribal, rather than medical, circs, which actually spread HIV. Many may not even have been circ’d at all, just subject to some form of ritual cutting (as in Malawi) To continue to cite such flimsy data, in the knowledge that it has been rebutted over and over again, is just plain dishonest. But then that is intactivism all over, isn’t it? You people routinely twist, cherry-pick and misrepresent the data in your quest to endanger lives and make circ’d men miserable. Little wonder I have come to despise the anti-circ movement. I don’t advocate for circ, and I don’t really care if someone is circ’d or not, but I object vehemently to damaging lies and misinformation. You continue your dishonesty with your statement about “studies in Uganda”. As you well know, it was one study of couples in which some already HIV+ men resumed intercourse before healing was complete, and so infected their partners. In any case, the study was abandoned owing to too few serodiscordant couples to make it statistically significant. But hey, why let the facts get in the way of your propaganda?

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