BBC: Tanzania male MPs face circumcision call to stop HIV spread

9 February, 2019

Extracts below and a comment from me. Full text here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-47169732

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A female MP in Tanzania has called for checks to determine whether or not her male colleagues have undergone circumcision - a procedure known to reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

Jackline Ngonyani said any MPs found not to have been circumcised should be required to undergo the procedure...

The World Health Organization (WHO) says circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexual men contracting HIV by around 60%.

Several African countries that are fighting HIV epidemics have launched campaigns to encourage men to undergo the procedure, which involves surgically removing the foreskin from the penis...

Ms Ngonyani made the comments during a debate in parliament about how to curb the spread of HIV in the country...

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Comments (NPW):

1. Encouragement is one thing, coercion is something else.

2. I could not find further information about this in the Tanzania media, suggesting that Jackline Ngonyani's suggestion is perhaps not being seriously considered.

3. I would be interested to understand more about the actual impact of circumcision. The WHO website confirms 'There is compelling evidence that male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60%'. But is there a risk that some circumcised men may assume wrongly that they are not at risk of HIV and may consequently engage more frequently in unprotected sex, thereby counteracting any benefit from the procedure and putting women at risk? WHO guidelines on circumcision and HIV prevention are currently in development. In the meantime, I look forward to learn from HIFA members.

Best wishes, Neil

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org