Push for male circumcision in Nyanza fails to reduce infections
By - George Orido
| September 11th 2013
By George Orido
KENYA:The prevalence of HIV and Aids rose in Nyanza and Central provinces, according to the Kenya Aids Indicative Survey released by the Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on Tuesday.
But Central’s 3.8 per cent prevalence increase from the previous 3.6 per cent is a mere fraction of Nyanza’s 15.1 per cent up from 2007’s 14.9 per cent.
Nyanza’s prevalence is big enough to double the national average prevalence.
And it has happened in spite of an aggressive campaign to have male circumcision as a strategy to reduce new infections in the region.
According to the KAIS 2012 survey, male circumcision among men aged 15-64 years in Nyanza increased by 18 per cent.
According to Macharia, this represents a new 600,000 males from Nyanza joining the community of the circumcised.
“Circumcision was a taboo in this part of the country then, but today it’s the norm,” said Macharia, who claimed this development has helped reduce new infections.
But his remarks are a contrast to what the statistics show.
Research has shown that circumcision could only reduce up to 60 per cent of potential HIV risk.
But confidence by most circumcised men who believe they cannot be infected by HIV was and remains a worrisome trend in the community.
A research paper appearing in the Intact America Journal suggested that this worry is shared globally, including in Malawi, that has outlawed the practice.
According to Ruth Achieng, a 22-year-old accounts student in Kisumu, many of her “peers today prefer circumcised men because they are perceived to be safe and HIV-free.”
As a result, the tendency not to use a condom during sexual intercourse is high.
But the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Programme Manager at the National Aids Control Council, Dr Athanasius Ochieng’, is quick to allay the fears.
“The 2001 and 2013 figures are statistically the same and is proof that male circumcision has actually stabilised prevalence by preventing new infections,” says Dr Ochieng.
He notes that a research conducted in Kisumu County three years ago showed that circumcised males had less exposure to risky behaviour.
Country records declined HIV infections in three regions, new survey showsThe number of people infected with HIV in the country has declined dramatically at the Coast, in Nairobi and parts of the Rift Valley but remained worryingly high in Nyanza, according to a national survey released by the government on Tuesday.
Restoring Nairobi’s iconic librariesBook Bunk is turning public libraries into what they call ‘Palaces for The People' while introducing technology in every aspect.
Male student, 17, dies in girls’ secondary school dormitory
- Boniface Mwangi house destruction: What we know so far
- Police clarification on bar operating hours after Uhuru lifts curfew
- Nairobi marabou storks lose their home to Expressway
- Postmortem examination performed on Masten Wanjala’s body
By Micah Sali
- DP William Ruto on a charm offensive in Western