By Danelle Frisbie
Adult man reads about the 'benefits' of circumcision while undergoing the surgery with local anesthesia.
Photo by Amnon Gutman.
According to news out of Malawi, men who undergo circumcision are buying into the myth that they are now protected from HIV. As a result, many of the local men in Mangochi have gone on 'sex sprees,' participating in sexual intercourse with multiple partners, without condoms, all the while claiming they are now immune to HIV.
The Malawi Voice reports that Dickens Mahwayo of Given Secrets Consultants detests the misinformation being given to men across Malawi. This past weekend at the College of Medicine (COM) Research Conference, Mahwayo told colleagues that he has found most men believe circumcision to be a license to have unprotected sex with anyone they choose. "What is most saddening is that most circumcised men are now engaging in unprotected sex, claiming they are immune to HIV."
Mahwayo's research demonstrates that the vast majority, 74% of men, state that they no longer use any form of protection after being circumcised. In addition, 58% of female sex workers do not require their male partners to use condoms if they have been circumcised.
Compounding the problem already in epidemic proportions is that circumcised men now pay significantly less for services from sex workers. "Circumcised men are now charged peanuts for sex compared to [intact] men," stated Mahwayo. Believed to be 'less of a risk' and easier to deal with, men who have undergone circumcision are given a break on cost. This spurs more men to sign up for circumcision under the guise that it will equal more sex, without any risk.
The rate of intercourse with multiple partners is increasing, as is the rate of intercourse without any form of protection. This false sense of 'HIV prevention' that current campaigns to cut in Africa pose are bringing about greater rates of the virus now spreading at an alarming rate due to these cultural myths and practices.
Related reading can be found at AIDSCirc.org and in resources linked at the end of this article.
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