Hope of less HIV infection as thousands of men go for cut

By Guardian Correspondent , The Guardian
Published at 09:13 AM Mar 16 2024
Shinyanga Regional Medical Officer Dr Yudas Ndungile
Photo: Haki Ngowi
Shinyanga Regional Medical Officer Dr Yudas Ndungile

HIV infection in Shinyanga Region is expected to decrease significantly, thanks to efforts made by Tanzania Health Promotion Support (THPS) through its Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) programme.

This was said here yesterday by Shinyanga Regional Medical Officer Dr Yudas Ndungile when he spoke with journalists on the importance of the VMMC programme.

He commended THPS, a non-governmental organization which implements the programme in collaboration with Afya Plus and the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) for supporting provision of VMMC services in all six district councils in the region.

He explained that the project which is funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR) has benefited more than 73,000 males aged 15 years and above with VMMC services between January 2022 and December 2023.

Dr Ndungile added that the project was implemented in Kigoma and Shinyanga regions from November 2021 to 2026 aimed to reduce HIV infections among adults including men in the two regions through preventive circumcision services.

“We are proud that in the first quarter of the third year (2023/2024) the project has reached a total of 26,752 males aged 15 years and above, which is 29 percent of the annual target of reaching 91,022 males,” he said.

He emphasized that the project has a good response from male to get circumcision services, urging more men to come in large numbers so as to benefit from the programme at all 35 VMMC health centres linked to control HIV infection.

Dr Amos Scott, Regional Project Manager, commended THPS for supporting VMMC services as one of the interventions to prevent HIV infection in the two regions.

He added that the project expanded the services to all district councils in Shinyanga Region hence sustaining a comprehensive package of quality and safe circumcision services to adolescents and men aged 15 years.

Dr Peter Mlacha, Regional Coordinator for control of Aids, sexually transmitted diseases and hepatitis, commended the good job done by the government in collaboration with health partners for reducing HIV infections for men.

Studies show that male circumcision can reduce a male's chances of acquiring HIV by 50 percent to 60 percent during heterosexual contact with female partners with HIV.