Local activist refutes Aids science

CONFUSION: Eastern Cape Aids activist Mbulelo Dyasi and his wife Chuma. © Sowetan.
CONFUSION: Eastern Cape Aids activist Mbulelo Dyasi and his wife Chuma. © Sowetan.

Vuyolwethu Sangotsha

Eastern Cape Aids activist Mbulelo Dyasi yesterday said claims that circumcised men were less at risk of contracting HIV than those who were not circumcised were a "myth".

He was commenting after research by various South African and international scientists found that circumcised men were at a lower risk of contracting Aids than uncircumcised men.

An HIV-Aids Conference held in Durban last week declared that circumcised men were less at risk of contracting HIV-Aids than uncircumcised men.

Dyasi was in the Eastern Cape delegation that attended the conference. A French scientist even told the conference that circumcision among men should be encouraged to prevent the virus from spreading.

Dyasi said he was circumcised, but had become infected with the virus.

"I know many circumcised men who have contracted the virus. Circumcision is not a solution to the HIV-Aids battle."

He also questioned the manner in which the results of the research were communicated to the public.

"This creates confusion and is forcing Aids activists to do damage control instead of fighting the spread of the disease. We are moving backwards instead of forward," said Dyasi, who was diagnosed with the virus in 2003 when his wife was pregnant.

Despite having no recognised scientific training, Dyasi criticised "these experts for failing to consult other stake holders such as traditional leaders and Aids activists" before making their results public.

He denied that circumcised men had become infected before they were circumcised. "That is not true because when I was infected, I had already been circumcised," he said.

Eastern Cape Aids Council chief executive Lulama Ntshingwa said it was scientifically proven that circumcised men were not as high risk as uncircumcised ones, but said he would not promote that view.

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