SOME Swazi men walk around without their manhoods because of cancer of the penis.
During a workshop on the HIV Prevention toolkit at Male Circumcision (MC) Litsemba Leftu Clinic, Doctor Khumbulani Moyo said a number of men have the disease.
He said the late stages of penile cancer could only result to amputation. While many may think that it is also women who are prone to cancer because of the popularity of breast and cervical cancer, men also have a form of cancer that attacks their genitals.
Moyo said most of the time penile cancer attacks men with uncircumcised penises. He said circumcised men were less at risk; hence emphasis should be made on the importance of circumcision in the prevention of many diseases, including sexually transmitted infections. Other diseases may include genital watts. The foreskin might also have cracks.
“When the penis develops penile cancer, mostly the only remedy would be amputating the penis. There are some Swazis with these diseases that I have attended to and it is advisable that men circumcise their penises to avoid such diseases,” he said. People suffering from the disease are not forced to have their manhoods amputated but decide on their own whether to keep their cancer infected penis until they die or have it removed and live a better life.
Circumcision Nurse at Litsemba Letfu, Nkosinathi Moyo said circumcised men had none or fewer complications with their penis. He said some men refused to circumcise because of misconceptions about circumcision.
Some men say that circumcision is a permanent condom, while some say the foreskin is used to make a certain spice. “Others are afraid that they would be forced to do an HIV test before circumcision yet that is not the case. People who are HIV positive are not denied circumcision, with 350 CD 4 count the procedure can still be done.
Those who refuse to do an HIV test still undergo circumcision,” she said.
Girls resort to other forms of sex to remain virgins
SOME girls opt for anal sex so that they remain virgins, Swaziland National Emergency Response Council on HIV and AIDS (NERCHA)’s Futhi-Dennis Langa revealed.
During a workshop for Non-Governmental Organisations on the usage of the HIV Prevention toolkit at Pigg’s Peak Hotel last week, Langa said a survey done showed that some girls said they had never had sex but agreed to have had anal sex.
Virginity is the pride of young girls in Swaziland so that they attend the reed dance. They pride themselves by remaining virgins; however, some of them chose other means of having sex other than penetrative sex.
This could include anal and oral sex.
All these forms of sex expose young people to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Langa also said there was a lot of partner sharing among Men having Sex with Men (MSM) because of the shortage of partners. The receivers (the one perceived as the girl) are more at risk of contracting HIV because of the nature of tissues around the anus.
The tissue around the anal area is too soft.
Unprotected receptive anal sex with an HIV positive partner or a partner with an unknown status poses much higher risk to HIV infection than unprotected receptive vaginal sex,” Langa said. She said MSM were also less likely to have access to or actively seek HIV prevention information and treatment services, hence have a heightened risk of exposure to HIV.
HIV interventions needed
for truck driver’s partners
SWAZILAND National Emergency Response Council on HIV and AIDS (NERCHA)’s Futhi-Dennis Langa said messages to address the issue of Multiple Concurrent Sexual Partnerships (MCPs) should not be directed to men, for example; truck drivers but also to the women at home.
Multiple partnerships is the practice of serial relationships, meaning that, one starts before the other one ends whilst concurrent refers to the overlapping sexual partnerships. It transpired during the workshop on the HIV Prevention toolkit that even though truck drivers and nomadic workers are more likely to have partners at all stations, the women back at home may also have someone to keep them company.
Langa said, therefore interventions should also be directed to the women back at home. “While we teach truck drivers and other nomadic workers on the importance of preventing themselves from contracting HIV, we should also teach the women who remain at home on the same because they also have ‘needs’, “ she said.
MCP is strongly correlated with high HIV prevalence. Drivers of MCPs include dissatisfaction in primary relationships - Limited or no sexual pleasure and lack of communication. Poverty was also identified as another drive and results in transactional sex (sex in return for food, rent, bills etc) and materialism.
There are also cultural norms that encourage currency among men. Other contributing factors include alcohol, migration and mobility, income inequality and gender norms and inequalities. Langa said it was therefore, important to craft MCP intervention messages to target couples, who live together, married or planning to marry/cohabit as well as couples where one or more partners is a mobile/migrant workers. She said girls between the ages of 13-17 should be provided with information to understand the risk of MCPs and intergenerational relationships.
“Young men and women between the ages 18-24 should be given support to reduce MCPs and intergenerational relationships.”
Young girls have no control of when to start having sex
SOMETIMES young girls do not chose to engage in sexual activity early but it may result from sexual violence.
UNICEF’s Vumile Dlamini said it was not enough to give young children (10-14) the correct information but increase relevance of information and accuracy of risk perception relating to delaying sexual debut. Module one from the HIV Prevention toolkit touches on identifying and reporting sexual abuse. It emphasises on specific messages for the different age groups.
The 15-19-year olds - dispel myths and misconceptions to delayed sexual debut. Increase knowledge about delaying sexual debut by providing accurate information. Also increasing relevance of information, increases skill to delaying sexual debut. Dlamini, however, highlighted that if the environment was not enabling, it would be difficult for young people to delay sex. She said, therefore, secondary target groups should be for example; parents, guardians, care givers, trusted relatives and older siblings.
“Be positive role models and provide appropriate socialisation and caring family environment to children in their charge. Provide accurate information on sex and sexuality, HIV and AIDS to children in their charge, refrain from condoning or colluding in arranged marriages, sexual partnerships of children under 16 and also provide adequate supervision to children in their charge at home in the neighbourhood and en- route to and from school,” she said.
Dlamini said it was also important to provide support in cash and kind to vulnerable households to reduce poverty and prevent early sexual debut to young people.
She said capacity building for parent child communication on sex, sexuality, child rights and family values as well as increased awareness on sexual offences bill is also vital.