The government of South Sudan has rolled out a 5-year project that aims to circumcise 1.5 million of its male populace. This is to help the country combat the spread of HIV.
The target is youth and men from the ages of 15 to 49 years. According to the government, low circumcision rates have become a major concern when it comes to the spread of HIV. Some communities in South Sudan don’t agree with male circumcision.
According to research, men who have gone through circumcision are at lower risk when they engage in heterosexual adventures when it comes to contracting HIV. In the mid-2000s, it came to light that male circumcision reduces the female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV by 60%.
South Sudan has 10 states. Out of these, only 3 practice circumcision, the other 7 sees the act as taboo. This contributes to a circumcision rate estimate of 23.6%.
The NGO Human Appeal Associates, in partnership with the health ministry, will be looking for volunteers over the next five years.
“The demand for circumcision in the capital, Juba, alone is very, very high,” Robert Matthew Uku, from Human Appeal Associates, told the BBC.
“Nearly 100 males – including 25 adults – were circumcised over the weekend.”
Meanwhile, UNAids has declared that about 2.3% of 15-49-year-olds in South Sudan are HIV-positive. Therefore, the government has described the low circumcision rates as a major public health concern. That’s as far as it concerns HIV.
From the year 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS have recommended voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) to African countries. Due to the recommendation, countries that have a high tendency of HIV widespread accepted the initiative. These 14 countries included Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Eswatini, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. However, the organizations identified South Sudan in 2016/17 as a key country for VMMC programs.