By Violet Nabatanzi
The Government is planning to circumcise 4.2 million men aged between 15 and 49 by 2015. The Government says this group is vulnerable to the HIV/ AIDS pandemic.
Speaking during a meeting on safe male circumcision and elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) at Hotel Africana yesterday, the acting programme manager of STD/AIDS control project, Dr. Joshua Musinguzi, said if the scale of circumcision is increased, it would reduce HIV infections.
He emphasised that circumcision is not a single intervention in the prevention of HIV/AIDS, but part of a comprehensive package. Other interventions include abstinence, faithfulness and condom usage, dubbed the ABC approach.
“Circumcision is part of a major package that we are promoting in the country,” Musinguzi said. The meeting, organised by the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/AIDS in Africa, attracted officials from the Ministry of Health, UNAIDS and World Health Organisation.
The main aim was to empower local government leaders with appropriate knowledge and skills in safe male circumcision and EMTCT, which are the major components of the current national HIV response.
The state minister for local government, Alex Onzima, said although circumcision is proven to be an effective HIV-prevention strategy, there is still a knowledge gap, myths and cultural misconceptions at the local government level.
“Engagement of local leadership in advocacy and community awareness is critical in enhancing the uptake of safe male circumcision and EMTCT services in the local governments,” Onzima said.