THE SA National Aids Council is finalising clinical protocols and auditing health facilities to assess their readiness to provide male circumcisions as demand peaks, which is already the case in KwaZulu-Natal.
Replying to questions in the National Council of Provinces yesterday, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said thanks to the support of NGOs and the Health Department's integrated service delivery model, this demand was being managed.
Motlanthe welcomed statements by King Goodwill Zwelithini calling for the broadening of male circumcision as one of the measures to combat HIV infections.
The government also welcomed efforts by KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize and his executive, who had mobilised traditional leaders to rally behind Zwelithini's call that young men undergo circumcision to help prevent new infections.
Evidence from clinical trials at Orange Farm in Gauteng, Kenya and Uganda had demonstrated that circumcised males had close to 60percent less chance of acquiring HIV during sexual intercourse.
"This means that male circumcision is partially protective and should be promoted as part of a comprehensive package of preventative activities," Motlanthe said.
Other measures included HIV counselling and testing, "knowing one's status helps to influence behaviour change", sexual and reproductive health education, advocacy for consistent condom use, and the management of sexually transmitted infections.
"All these initiatives complement our message to young people: Abstain, Be Faithful, Condomise," Motlanthe said. - Sapa