Xolani Zwane, a 38-year-old father of three, became a PEPFAR-funded organization’s 100,000th South African client for voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC).
Prior to his visit to the clinic, Xolani had no knowledge of this service. Susan Molutsoane, the clinic’s site manager, told him about the procedure and its medical benefits.
“The final decision to get circumcised came from me,” Xolani said two days after his circumcision. “There was no reason for me not to do it, and I feel great.”
According to three clinical trials conducted in the early 2000s with funding from the U.S. and French governments in Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda, medical male circumcision reduces the risk of acquiring HIV by 60 percent.
PEPFAR-funded VMMC programs, which are developed in collaboration with ministries of health, include counseling, informed consent, condom provision, and the option to be tested for HIV.
Xolani is so pleased with the procedure’s outcome that he plans for his 4-year-old son to get circumcised as soon as medically possible.
Men who have had this procedure find it easier to maintain personal hygiene while protecting their female partners from a number of other sexually transmitted infections. Male circumcision also reduces a woman’s risk of cervical cancer.
Since commencing in 2010, the program has made a considerable impact in many South African communities. At the organization’s Pietermaritzburg site alone, it performed some 4,277 VMMCs annually since the program started. This site, which operates from a temporary mobile location, is responsible for 21 percent of the nationwide achievement of the organization’s 100,000 VMMCs.
To achieve control of the HIV epidemic, PEPFAR fully supports a combination prevention package that comprises interventions such as offering condoms, VMMC, antiretroviral treatment, counseling, and guidance for preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission.