'Circumcision halves HIV-Aids infection'

UNCIRCUMCISED men run a greater risk of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted deceases than those circumcised

This was said by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi yesterday during an interview about his department's state of readiness in the launching of initiation schools in provinces throughout the country.

Several provinces will in June launch circumcision schools where thousands of youngsters enrol to become "men".

Motsoaledi used the opportunity to encourage young men to enrol in such schools to counter the risk of contracting HIV and related deceases.

"This should be well understood. We are not saying circumcised men cannot be infected by HIV and Aids and other sexually transmitted deceases," he warned.

"All we are saying is that those circumcised are safer than those who are not."

Motsoaledi said statistics released last year have proven that circumcision had the effect of reducing the infection by HIV and other sexually transmitted deceases by between 50 and 60 percent.

He said the escalating number of deaths at initiation schools, caused by unskilled surgeons and the re-peated use of the same instruments, have become a national concern.

"Year in and year out we admit thousands of young men to hospital after graduation because they could not heal during their stay in the schools due to botched operations.

"Some of these initiates die because of a shortage of proper skills during operations, while several others were forced to stay in hospital or at home to heal before they could go back to normal schools."