Selling Circumcision for HIV Prevention at the Epicenter of the Global Epidemic
Thursday, May 8, 2014
When Zimbabwe’s most famous poet and musician, Albert Nyathi, decided to get circumcised, everyone had an opinion.
For Albert, poetry has always come first, but now he acts as a local champion of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), hoping to inspire the men of his country — both sons and fathers alike — to undergo the procedure. When he was growing up, his father and uncle were polygamists, a characteristic of a much older society and one that flies in the face of a global HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The topic of circumcision in Zimbabwe and across many southern African states is one that comes with many myths and misconceptions. In countries where HIV and AIDS run rampant, with new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa occurring at a rate of 2.3 million a year, male circumcision protects, but many still shy away from it.
Albert did his research before making the decision to undergo the procedure — reading all the literature and discussing it with his wife. He underwent the procedure in April of this year with his son, who has now become Zimbabwe’s youngest champion of VMMC.
The latest PLOS research collection, “Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention: Improving Quality, Efficiency, Cost Effectiveness, and Demand for Services during an Accelerated Scale-up,” presents interim results from the ongoing campaign for VMMC in sub-Saharan Africa, in which Albert Nyanthi is one of many champions.