Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is a relatively low cost way to prevent HIV infections, but it also offers men other health benefits. An article in South Africa’s Mail and Guardian this week tells the story of 23-year-old Thabo Khoza* and his experience in a Johannesburg health clinic that provides VMMC.
Khoza went to the clinic to get circumcised, but he also got tested for HIV and had an overall health examination, including a check of his blood pressure and blood sugar. This is significant because studies reveal that South African men rarely visit health clinics unless they are extremely ill. This screening can reveal conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure – both of which can be managed with regular treatment.
HIV testing is also important because if a man tests positive during his VMMC screening, he is referred to health care facilities that specialize in HIV care and treatment. Fortunately, Khoza tested negative for HIV and underwent VMMC. The procedure went well and he was sent home with instructions on how to care for his wound and told not to have sex for six weeks while he healed.
On World AIDS Day, HC3 began hosting a discussion on Springboard for Health Communication Professionals about how VMMC can serve as a gateway to other medical care. Join the discussion.
*To protect his identity, this is not his real name.