Ukugweda 'tastier than circumcision'

PROMOTERS of male circumcision as a weapon against HIV will have to reckon with a Zulu belief that "partial" circumcision means better sex.

PROMOTERS of male circumcision as a weapon against HIV will have to reckon with a Zulu belief that "partial" circumcision means better sex.

An article in the latest issue of TheSouth African Medical Journal reports that interviews with a rural community revealed "rich traditional understandings" of male circumcision but people had negative views on circumcision that involved removal of the foreskin.

"These perceptions seem to originate in historical tensions between Zulus and the Xhosas regarding male circumcision.

"In contrast to the Xhosa practice of full circumcision, Zulus traditionally promoted partial circumcision (ukugweda). Here, the foreskin is not removed, but a band of tissue under the penis glans is cut, allowing the foreskin to move easily back and forth."

The researchers, from the Human Sciences Research Council and the University of California, said there was a need to distinguish between medical male circumcision and its benefits, and ukugweda, whose HIV benefits were unknown.

Trials in SA, Uganda and Kenya have shown that full circumcision has a dramatic effect in reducing HIVtransmission.

The World Health Organisation said in 2007 there was "compelling evidence" that it reduced heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by about 60percent. - Sapa

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