May 16, 2017

Traditional cut is a blunt instrument in war on HIV

Written by Philani Nombembe

This article originally appeared on Times Live.

The question of whether men snipped in the bush are more at risk of HIV than those who go under the scalpel has reared its head again.

Research conducted among thousands of men in Lesotho has found that “traditionally circumcised men are more likely to be HIV positive compared to men who underwent voluntary medical male circumcision”.

The traditional method does not completely remove the foreskin‚ which harbours cells targeted by the virus‚ the study says.

The research‚ published in the academic journal PLOS One‚ says 90% of circumcised Lesotho men had the surgery done the traditional way‚ which is widely practised in South Africa.

“Depending on how the surgical operation is performed‚ male circumcision may not be protective in the prevention of HIV transmission‚” says Elisa Maffioli‚ from the Duke Global Health Institute in North Carolina‚ US.

“Traditional male circumcision‚ for example‚ does not often involve complete removal of the foreskin‚ but is more of a symbolic cut. A recent study of Lesotho Defence Force applicants showed that half of the men who reported that they were circumcised retained all or a portion of their foreskin.”

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