Motsoaledi urges politicians to get circumcised

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Tuesday called on politicians to lead by example and get circumcised.

"Medical male circumcision services are also available for those who want access to this service and honourable members, those who need to do it and [have] not yet done it, we are inviting them, and I can also help you because I'm involved in that sector also," Motsoaledi told the National Assembly.

He was speaking after the launch of the HIV, counselling and testing (HCT) campaign in Parliament.

The politicians joined over 18 000 South Africans who have been tested since President Jacob Zuma launched the HCT campaign in April 2010.

Motsoaledi had been calling for politicians and other powerful individuals to lead by example by undergoing the tests, hopefully prompting other South Africans to do the same.

"It gives me great pleasure to be here today at this extremely powerful place in the country to launch the HCT campaign for members of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa as well as all who work here," he said.

Medical male circumcision campaign
It emerged Zuma would re-launch the campaign on World Aids Day on December 1 at the Gert Sibande district in Mpumalanga, the area with the country's highest HIV prevalence rate.

At the same time, a medical male circumcision campaign would be announced.

"Medical male circumcision is a critical strategy to decrease the HIV/Aids pandemic as demonstrated by the number of clinical trials in South Africa and other countries on the continent," Motsoaledi said.

If MPs and other prominent individuals did annual HIV tests and underwent medical male circumcision, it would contribute to the reduction of the stigma and discrimination attached to the pandemic, he said.

"Every South African should test annually … regardless of age, regardless of your status or your station in life," he said.

"Today's event will contribute significantly towards the scaling up of HCT in the country by showing everyone that there's strong political leadership in the country that supports the war against HIV and Aids." – Sapa

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Sapa
Guest Author
Bhekisisa team
Bhekisisa Team
Health features and news from across Africa by Bhekisisa, the Mail & Guardian's health journalism centre.
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