Mens Sexual Health: Condomise and Circumcise
The two best ways for men to ensure their sexual health and to protect themselves and their loved ones from STIs and HIV, is to condomise and be medically circumcised.
Western Cape Government Health encourages communities to make more extensive use of the Medical Male Circumcision (MMC) services on offer at public health facilities, which provides patients with safe, clean and hygienic procedures.
MMC is an important vehicle for sexual and reproductive health. Circumcision offers a lifetime of benefits, including better hygiene, reduced risk of sexually transmitted infections and HIV. It reduces the risk of penile cancer and the partner's risk of cervical cancer.
The procedure is performed by trained healthcare workers and takes about 30 minutes. The patient will be discharged from the facility on the day that the procedure is done, but complete healing will take up to six weeks.
Medical Male Circumcision is the full removal of the penis foreskin, fully exposing the head of the penis. Medical Male Circumcision (MMC) is performed at a medical facility by a qualified medical professional.
The person must return to the facility after two days to check if there are no complications.
Parents may also choose to have the procedure done on their male babies/child(ren).
The procedure can be done even if the man is HIV positive, but this does not protect his partner from HIV. HIV positive men who choose to be circumcised should continue to use condoms at all times to protect their partners from HIV, as well as protecting themselves and their partner from re-infection if both are HIV-positive.
Many cultures and religions only support partial circumcision, but for full health benefits, a medical circumcision is recommended.
Although having the procedure reduces the risk of being infected by HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI), it is still advisable to use condoms to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of HIV and STIs.
Circumcision does not reduce the risk of HIV infection if one engages in anal sex.
If you are to get the full health benefits of male circumcision, it is important for you to know whether you are:
• Partially circumcised — where only a part of the foreskin has been removed, or a slit has been cut in the foreskin
• Fully circumcised — where the entire foreskin has been removed
Circumcised men should still use a condom every time they have sex. Men must keep to one sexual partner and test for HIV to know their status so that they can make the best decision for their health.
Men’s sexual health is one of the services that facilities provide. If a man has any concerns, he can visit his clinic to access these services. The healthcare workers at clinics are trained to deal with a wide range of health issues and will not be embarrassed to discuss various options. Furthermore, if the problem needs to be investigated by a doctor or specialist, the nurse at the clinic will be able to refer the patient to the relevant level of care.
The Department also encourages men to invest in their health through regular self-examinations, getting screened and adopting a balanced lifestyle, in order to reduce their cancer risk or the recurrence of cancer.
Men aged 40 years and older need to go for simple screening tests each year to detect prostate cancer. Early detection enables more effective treatment and a better chance of recovery.
It’s important to notice any changes in the body, along with going for regular check-ups and having Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests.
Principal Communications Officer: District Health Services & Programmes
Western Cape Government: Health
Tel: 021 483 2904
Fax: 021 483 6169