Male circumcision also good for women!

While I commend you on the quality of the piece and the depth of insight that is evident in your comment, I was left with a somewhat uneasy feeling that the articles did not reflect the Zambian situation accurately. Perhaps it may benefit your readers to know the following: 1. The male circumcision (MC) service site at the University Teaching Hospital was started two years ago (August 2004) before the Orange Farm study reported in June/July 2005. Before starting the service, an acceptability study was done and showed a high level of acceptability for the service. 2. In our analysis of clients in November 2005 (230 clients), we found the main reason for having a circumcision was hygiene, rather than a feeling that this would prevent HIV transmission as your article suggests. Only 9 percent came from voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) centres and only 35 percent were sexually active. This is somewhat at variance with the thrust given by your article. 3. It may interest you to know that the MC service is provided together with counselling on safe sex practices and the promotion of condom use. 4. The statement in your opinion that MC “does not protect women from infection” is not accurate. In fact, according to a study by Gray et al published in AIDS journal in July 2000, male circumcision may protect women from infection if the man has a viral load less than 50 000 copies/ml. Dr Kasonde Bowa MSc,M.Med,FRCS Consultant Urologist Senior Lecturer in Urology University of Zambia School of Medicine Lusaka, Zambia

May 2006
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