Circumcision and celebrities: scaling-up voluntary medical male circumcision
Monday, May 12, 2014
In Zimbabwe, an estimated 1.4 million people are living with HIV, a prevalence of 15 percent, according to UNAIDS estimates from 2012. Yet estimates today show only nine percent of males in Zimbabwe are circumcised – a low number when considering that male circumcision reduces female-to-male transmission of HIV by 60 percent.
A proven, safe and effective procedure, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is a crucial component of a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention that includes correct and consistent condom use, reduction in partners, HIV testing and counseling, early treatment for those infected and stigma reduction.
National celebrities, both male and female, are helping scale-up VMMC efforts in Zimbabwe by addressing key barriers men face when considering the procedure, including a lack of social support and myths and misconceptions around VMMC. In collaboration with the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health, the national campaign, which PSI began in October 2013, includes popular musicians, disc jockeys and soccer stars from Zimbabwe. It also features celebrity women whose husbands are circumcised to encourage other women to support their partners in getting circumcised.