South African doctor warns against using circumcision to fight HIV
Nov 23, 2011, 14:27 GMT
Johannesburg - The editor of the South African Medical Journal warned on Wednesday against a government plan to promote circumcision as part of an anti-HIV campaign, saying it may end up undermining gains made in encouraging condom use.
'I'm proposing that South Africa stop the roll out until this new fad has been more thoroughly investigated,' Daniel Ncayiyana, the editor of the peer-reviewed medical magazine told City Press newspaper.
The remarks came ahead of World AIDS Day on December 1. Some 34 million people globally are believed to be living with HIV, but the UN has noted a decline in the number of new infections this year.
In South Africa, the country with the largest number of people infected with HIV, the health department has begun to promote circumcision as part of its campaign to encourage safe sex.
The department says it only offers the minor surgery after men have been informed that circumcision is not a 'silver bullet' and that it can only help reduce, but not eliminate, female-to-male infections of the virus that causes AIDS.
Neighbouring Zimbabwe has also embarked on a massive country-wide campaign to circumcise men and help stop the spread of the virus.
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