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Growing number of Ugandan men opting out of circumcision

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There has been a drop in the number of men opting for safe male circumcision- SMC over the past three years.

Information from Uganda AIDS Commission shows that 703,997 men were circumcised in the last 2018/2019 financial year compared to 747,244 in 2017/2018. In 2017, the same trend was recorded with 800,000 men being circumcised compared to 1 million in 2016.

Dr. Nelson Musoba, the Director General UAC, says the reduction of 43,247 in the number of men being circumcised will not stop the country’s target of circumcising over 4 million men.

SMC is believed to be able to reduce the possibility of HIV infection by 60 percent. Circumcision has other health benefits, which include reducing the risk of developing Urinary Tract Infections and Sexually Transmitted infections.    It is believed to also decrease the risk of getting penile cancer.  Ibrahim Twinomuguni, a doctor at the SMC clinic at Makerere University Hospital, says they have recorded a decrease in the number of men seeking SMC services.

According to Dr. Twinomuguni, the reduction is mainly noted during the school term. He says on average they circumcise 15 people during the term compared to 30 during school holidays. Dr. Joshua Musinguzi, the head of the AIDS Control Programme in the Health ministry, says if the current trend continues a new approach of reducing exposure to HIV for men will have to be found.     “Men have poor health seeking habits, While SMC doesn’t stop a man from getting infected with HIV, it reduces the chances. Now if men are not getting circumcised, this is worrying and something that we have to address as a country,” he said.

Dr. Twinomuguni says the reduction in numbers is something that has been happening over time. He says the attitude that men had to SMC when it was being launched is not the same today.

Christopher Otim, a third year student at Makerere University who URN found at the SMC clinic at the University Hospital, says he has not undertaken circumcision due to the fear of the unknown. He is however willing to escort friends to carry out the procedure.

According to data from UAC, in the financial year 2018/19, a total of 5280 clients who underwent SMC suffered adverse reactions such as severe pain after the procedure, infections and excessive bleeding. 80 percent carried out the procedure was carried out in Eastern region.

Dr. Musoba attributes the adverse effects to the lack of trained staff in all health facilities that offer the services. “We have an inadequate capacity of health workers who can conduct SMC. Not all facilities have trained teams to offer SMC. But we need to investigate this and rectify it,” he said.

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24 comments

  1. Good for them. I’d pay a year’s salary rather than be circumcised or have my son circumcised. Why would I want the most sensitive and pleasurable parts cut off? That little bit of skin makes a big difference (it’s not just there to protect the glans).

    Around two thirds of the world’s men (including 88% of the world’s non-Muslim men) never get circumcised.

    • True buddy l agree with you 100%. If circumcision was so beneficial as they say, am sure medical experts in the advanced world would be strongly recommending to parents of new born babies. I think its a bullshit idea they sell to Ugandans. Africans ar prone to believing anything and everything oba lwaki?

  2. I regret the day I was circumcised. I think the promoters of this act are not well informed or else have personal benefits.

  3. Claiming that circumcision prevents a health problem is a compulsion of circumcised men to have done to others what was done to them. Historically, this compulsion has led to over 200 potential health claims for circumcision. All have been refuted. Thirteen national and international organizations recommend against circumcision. Search “circumcision information summary” to learn why.

    The foreskin has various functions that contribute to sexual experience for both partners. It contains thousands of nerves and expands sensitivity. Cutting it off is like cutting off a thumb believing the hand will work better. Search “functions of the foreskin.”

    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. 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.

  4. Luyombya Ibrahim Ahmed

    I don’t think circumcision is forced on anyone. It’s just one of the ways that have proved to be effective in reducing the spread of HIV. it’s an advice which you can take or leave. Just like condoms, no one can force you to use them. It’s your life and it’s you to decide. But you shouldn’t discourage others

    • Someone stating the facts that have been deliberately left out is not discouraging anyone but rather to help others make informed decisions.

    • Any baby that is circumcised has it forced on them, and sadly, lots of children have been circumcised without the permission of their parents.

    • A child or baby can not make a informed decision. Let the childrens genitals alone. A condom is much more effective than a circumcised penis, against HIV and other SDTs. Circumcision protection against HIV is so bad that you have to make use of conomom in any case, if you want to take action against HIV and other SDTs. Women get no protection if the man does not use a condom. So why circumcise when there are condoms. Children should not be circumcised as they cannot give informed consent. Parents cannot decide on a child’s foreskin, because they do not know if the child wants a foreskin as an adult.

    • There is no benefit to this genital amputation procedure. None.

  5. Okello Daniel opio

    It is quite difficult to know exactly the right way because circumcision existed before HIV/aids scourge as a religious and cultural practices among many communities in the world but the contradiction is,even the circumcised lots have equally perished in greater numbers from the fangs of the scourge so other alternatives which do not inflict any form of torture be used like use of condoms ,abstain ace etc

  6. Its entirely an informed choice and if you really don’t want to carry it out, it’s not an achievement neither is it a crime.But there are people out there willing to carry it out so stop infecting them with your malicious mentality

    • It’s hardly “malicious” to suggest that male circumcision is a dangerous distraction in the fight against AIDS.

      From a USAID report:
      “There appears no clear pattern of association between male circumcision and HIV prevalence—in 8 of 18 countries with data, HIV prevalence is lower among circumcised men, while in the remaining 10 countries it is higher.”
      (this will include men who were circumcised tribally rather than medically, but they and their partners may also believe themselves to be protected, and the whole rationale for the RCTs into female-to-male transmission was a purported correlation between high rates of male circumcision and low rates of HIV)

      From a study in South Africa in August 2018:
      “Medically circumcised older men in a rural South African community had higher HIV prevalence than uncircumcised men, suggesting that the effect of selection into circumcision may be stronger than the biological efficacy of circumcision in preventing HIV acquisition.”
      [or that male circumcision simply isn’t efficacious at preventing HIV acquisition]

      It seems highly unrealistic to expect that there will be no risk compensation. The South African National Communication Survey on HIV/AIDS, 2009 found that 15% of adults across age groups “believe that circumcised men do not need to use condoms”. This figure seems to have been unchanged in 2012.

      A study in Zambia found that “30% of women at R1, and significantly more (41%) at R2, incorrectly believed MC is fully protective for men against HIV.”

      It is unclear if circumcised men are more likely to infect women. The only ever randomized controlled trial into male-to-female transmission showed a 54% higher rate in the group where the men had been circumcised:

      ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful, and especially Condoms) is the way forward. Promoting genital surgery seems likely to cost African lives rather than save them.

  7. I wonder why so many people don’t believe the Apostle Paul knew what he was talking about almost 2,000 years ago when he called circumcision MUTILATION? (Philippians 3:2).

  8. Ask the real people who are already circumcised, are they enjoying sex or not. Period.
    Otherwise leave Government programmes to go on and save people’s lives who are not aware of HIV.

    • Kim and Pang 2006 studied 255 men circumcised as adults, and found that “About 6% answered that their sex lives improved, while 20% reported a worse sex life after circumcision.”

      • Humphrey Batekyereza

        There’s deference between saving life and having good sex. It’s upon your choice to either make a painful decision than losing both.

        • Staying alive is definitely more important than good sex, but you can have both without getting circumcised. Circumcision isn’t going to help anyone unless they have unprotected sex with an HIV+ partner, and it doesn’t seem to help much (if at all) then.

  9. I wish we could have women contribute to this discussion, I think they would give us a whole new dimension about this argument.
    I am personally one of those men who didn’t buy the idea that circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission, I have no idea about the effects of circumcision on sexual performance, but I have had my girlfriend seriously recommending, actually pushing me to go get circumcised.
    Not only her, but I have also heard from girls circles taking “uncircumcised men* for an insult.
    I am still uncircumcised but slowly considering to go for it.
    My only worry was that severe pain and the sex draught, that’s why I didn’t go for it when SMC program was on when I was still at university.

    • Frisch 2011
      “Conclusions Circumcision was associated with frequent orgasm difficulties in Danish men and with a range of frequent sexual difficulties in women, notably orgasm difficulties, dyspareunia and a sense of incomplete sexual needs fulfilment.”

      There are lots of women who prefer intact. I’d post several links if I could.

      These are just some of the men circumcised as adults who regretted it though:

      Adult film star Rocco Siffredi (the “Italian Stallion”) called his decision “catastrophic” and that being intact “you can feel much more fun”.

      Adult film star Erik Rhodes
      “So to answer the question, after getting all that out… yes i do regret it. I should have just looked for other options before letting some crazy a–hole take a knife to my d-ck and yes i have lost sensitivity. It’s just not the same.”

      Regular guy Nick Kusturis
      “After the circumcision I felt nothing, no sensation at all. I knew something wasn’t right, but I just thought if I waited, everything would get back to normal. So I waited, I was in denial for the longest time. One day it just hit me that this was not going to change.”
      (search for “Circumcised at 18” on YouTube to hear his story)

      Regular guy hbciba
      “The old saying about the palm of your hand vs. the back is an understatement- the nerve endings in my foreskin gave me a completely different dimension of sensation, but now it’s gone. ”
      [search for “Got Circumcised as an Adult (Just saw the Penn & Teller episode)” on YouTube]

      You may be interested in the “VMMC Experience Project”, which you can find on Facebook and in Google.

    • Do not do it. Get information from doctors opposing circumcision

  10. Edward, is your girlfriend really a keeper? Isn’t it TOTALLY IRRATIONAL for her to think that her natural, almost total INTERNAL skin system of her genitals, is just fine with its need for proper hygiene, while your natural, but LESS inner skin organ needs to be cut up because hygiene is supposedly easier? She needs to change, or show her the door! Why not believe the Apostle Paul when he stated about 2,000 years ago that CIRCUMCISION = MUTILATION? (Philippians 3:2).

  11. Do not do it. Get information from doctors opposing circumcision

  12. A condom is much more effective than a circumcised penis, against HIV and other SDTs. Circumcision protection against HIV is so bad that you have to make use of conomom in any case, if you want to take action against HIV and other SDTs. Women get no protection if the man does not use a condom. So why circumcise when there are condoms. Children should not be circumcised as they cannot give informed consent. Parents cannot decide on a child’s foreskin, because they do not know if the child wants a foreskin as an adult.

  13. Increasingly, men are opting out of circumcision for themselves and their sons. Part of this is due to increased knowledge about the adverse physical, sexual and emotional outcomes that were noted in a 2017 published survey of more than 1,000 men subjected to circumcision as infants/children.

    “Long-term adverse outcomes from neonatal circumcision reported in a survey of 1,008 men: an overview of health and human rights implications”

    Men, their wives and others in Uganda and elsewhere are sharing their painful stories about this misguided intervention with the VMMC Experience Project

    Additionally, more parents are coming to the realization that they have no right to decide for their children how much of their genitals the child gets to keep. It’s an inherent human rights violation.

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