President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has given a taste of what Western proponents of circumcision may have to contend with. Obviously, the men targeted by any circumcision campaign must be consulted. This seems to be the point he’s making.
See article next page.
Museveni Scoffs At Circumcision for HIV-Aids
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has trashed claims that circumcised men are less prone to HIV/Aids infection. Mr Museveni was on Thursday speaking to over 350 NRM district leaders and MPs from the central region at Vice President Gilbert Bukenya’s Garuga home, off the Kampala-Entebbe highway.
In a press statement from Prof. Bukenya’s office, Mr Museveni warned that immorality was leading to increased infection rates. “The only way to avoid getting infected is to avoid having illicit sexual affairs. Why are Muslims and Bagisu dying? Who beats the Bagisu when it comes to circumcising men?” Mr Museveni asked.
Among the Bagisu, a tribe in eastern Uganda, every male, between adolescence and manhood, must be circumcised. The circumcision is done in the open during daytime, in the presence of witnesses.
Mr Museveni also scoffed at claims that the microbicide gels that have been on trial in various countries can be an effective prevention against HIV/Aids. “People know how and where they can catch Aids. Unless they fight irresponsible sexual relationships, they cannot stop it,” he said.
United States researchers last month halted clinical trials of cellulose sulphate, a topical microbicide gel being tested for prevention of HIV/Aids infection in women. Preliminary data indicated that cellulose sulphate could lead to an increased risk of HIV infections in women who use the compound. The trial was being conducted in South Africa, Benin and India.
Mr Museveni said part of the NRM strategy was to keep Ugandans alive and in good health. He said his government had implemented immunisation programmes among children and sensitised the entire country about the HIV/Aids pandemic.
The approach, he said, had helped reduce the rate of infection.
The other approach, he said, was the doling out of ARV drugs to infected Ugandans in a bid to prolong their lives.
Nandutu, Agness. Musuveni Scoffs At Circumcision For HIV-Aids. Allafrica.com (The Monitor). February 17, 2007.