Health officials have urged religious leaders to join them in promoting male circumcision to fight HIV/Aids. During a meeting on HIV/Aids in Mbarara Town on Tuesday, health officials noted that religious leaders command a big following and that their negative stance on some strategies like condom use are a setback to the fight against the pandemic.
The Executive Director of Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, Dr George Upenytho, said: “Safe male circumcision is a government policy but it has lagged behind. We need support of all stakeholders, including religious leaders from all denominations.”
He said male circumcision should not be looked at as a strategy for only HIV/Aids prevention but also other diseases like cervical and penis cancer. The Mbarara Senior Health Officer, Mr Lubega Kazooba, said male circumcision has proven to be a good strategy for prevention of HIV/Aids but added that it should be used alongside other strategies of abstinence, being faithful and using condoms.
The Rev. Apollo Tweteise of All Saints Church Mbarara said the church is not against male circumcision but added that its promotion should be well packaged such that the church is not seen as promoting immorality.
Dr Isaac Kigozi, an official of Mulago-Mbarara Joint Aids Programme, which convened the meeting, said they have circumcised more than 4000 males in the district since May last year.
He added that they are going to extend the service to all health centre IVs in the district.