Time to be a man

THE KwaZulu-Natal department of health has called on young males aged between 14 and 25 years to take part in the first male circumcision camp to be held at Eshowe this weekend.

The circumcision camp is the first in a plan by the department to circumcise more than two million males over the next five years.

Department spokesperson Chris Maxon said yesterday the announcement followed the government's decision earlier this year to scale up its implementation of medical male circumcision as part of the HIV comprehensive prevention strategy.

Although the circumcision programme targets mainly men between 14 and 25 years, it also encourages women to circumcise their newborn children immediately after birth.

MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo said there was a strong recognition that male circumcision presented an opportunity to engage men around HIV prevention.

"The enthusiasm surrounding male circumcision is a positive development that could lay the foundation for an innovative programme.

"As a medical procedure, we also emphasise consent before the administration of the procedure and also ensuring that safety and hygiene are assured," Dhlomo said.

Maxon said the camp would feature an interactive programme that will include health education, traditional counselling and recreational activities.

"All participants will undergo a thorough process of counselling ahead of the procedure being administered.

"This will include HIV counselling, testing and primary healthcare screenings," Maxon said.

The circumcisions will start at 9am at Eshowe FET College.