FS men arm themselves against HIV/Aids

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Lani Fouché

Young men in the Free State are taking extra measures to safeguard themselves and their sexual partners against the HI-virus. More than 1 200 men have already made use of the brand new ‘Holla Monna’ Male Circumcision Unit at Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein, which was officially launched last week.  The unit has the capacity to circumcise 50 men each day and is completely free of charge. “Male circumcision is a minor simple and safe procedure conducted by the professional doctors and nurses in a sterile condition,” said the Free State health department.

“Pelonomi Hola Monna (which means "grow up men" in Sesotho) Male Circumcision Unit is part of the programme targeting any man between the ages of 15 – 35 who volunteer and is initiated by the South African Government in the fight against HIV/Aids. The discomfort lasts for few hours but most men are able to return to work the next day.” A field worker at the unit, Boitumelo Sekwena, says circumcised men are 60% less likely to contract the HI-virus through intercourse than uncircumcised men.
“We want it to function like a factory. Men must come in by the numbers to undergo the simple procedure. We hope it will drop the large number of HIV-infected men and women.”

One of the men who underwent the procedure on the day of the official launch, Thabiso Labello, says he was persuaded by a group of friends to have the circumcision done, and is glad he did so.“It wasn’t painful at all, it was quick and I can go back to work tomorrow. I know HIV and Aids is a big problem in the country, so I’m doing my part to fight against it.”The use of the facilities and medical tools are being funded by the Free State health department, while the staff are paid by a medical funding initiative in the United States.