Eyebrows were raised when the recent randomised control trials in Uganda and South Africa were stopped prematurely because of ethical reasons. The trials show that male circumcision has massive protective effect against HIV transmission. You may wonder what these had to do with the youth . . .
Circumcision is a controversial subject in South Sudan. For most people it is an Islamic religious requirement for induction into Islam. For the Zande (correct me!) is a cultural thing that all males be circumcised. And if you transfer that to the Eastern Equatoria you will be labelled a "Jallaba" if they know you are circumcised.
Why should it be a dilemma for the young people? For town folks, it is no big deal as peer pressure guarantees that it is performed before the other boys find out. You will not go to swim in the river with your peers as you will be the subject of ridicule!
Now with AIDS continuing to spread like wild fire and all prevention methods don't seem to do much, a much subtle approach seems to be promising. The trials showed the protective effect that circumcision can be promoted as one intervention for controlling HIV. The dilemma is: how can such an interventions be promoted in a traditionally non-circumcising community without raising controversy?
Culture and religion aside, male circumcision has some medical advantages: cleanliness, reduced chances of viral infection like human pappiloma virus and sexually transmitted diseases.
Mind you it doesn't mean the circumcised can go play around. It is an added advantage but does not replace the condom. While the world continues to debate the ethics, the question remains: to circ or not to circ?
Friday, April 13, 2007
To circumcise or not to circumcise?
An interesting piece from Imatong: