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Health department to host conference on circumcision

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The Department of Health, CareWorks, civil society organizations and medical experts will Tuesday gather to discuss the overarching benefits of male medical circumcisions (MMC) in the fight against HIV and AIDS. The department aims to circumcise 4.3 million South African men by 2016 and says the implementation of MMC could result in an HIV free generation by the year 2030.

Tuesday’s gathering in Cape Town will be the first opportunity for all invested role players to discuss the future of this HIV prevention strategy.

“Should this be achieved, the benefits for individuals, communities, the province and the country will be enormous. By way of example the 2.4 million people on ARTs cost the economy R17 billion a year; if this can be reduced by a million, South Africa will save R8 billion a year, every year,” CareWorks said in a press statement.

The Department will be joined by Loykissoonlal Dayanund, departmental manager for MMC; Dr Don Pupuma, a family physician in private practice in Soweto; and Dr Harry Lake, CEO of CareWorks.

The American Centre for Disease Control (CDC) says male circumcision is an effective tool for the prevention of the spread and contraction of HIV during unprotected sexual encounters.

In a 2008 study the CDC found that during a trial period before 2005:

“[South African] men who had been randomly assigned to the circumcision group had a 60% […] lower incidence of HIV infection compared with men assigned to the wait-list group to be circumcised at the end of the study.”

Tuesday will also see the launch of the CareWorks MMC (www.mmcinfo.co.za) web portal, for South Africans in need of more information on the matter. VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)


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