The positive response to safe male circumcision by men will help reduce infections in Botswana, the Director of HIV and AIDS Prevention Dr Refeletswe Lebelonyane has said.
In an effort to curb the spread of HIV and contribute to the national target of zero new infections by 2016, the Ministry of Health has set a target of 80 percent or 480,000 of HIV negative men to be circumcised by 2016, the national Vision year.
Speaking at a press conference held at President Hotel yesterday, Dr Lebelonyane said that the whole exercise of increasing the number of circumcised men should be seen as a national campaign, which requires innovative ideas and efforts from all sectors of society and as a result, concerted effort is needed from government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), development partners and the media.
"The media has the power to educate, inform and even reach people in far places," she emphasised.
Lebelonyane added: "As more men get circumcised, the incidence of HIV will be lowered among men, translating to lower transmission of HIV to woman and ultimately a reduction of HIV in the country."
Currently there are 405 trained doctors, nurses, social workers and councillors who are only concentrating on the SMC programme, the focus of the programme is on high volume districts where the spread of
The SMC programme is one of the 12 programmes within the Department of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care, which was established as a response towards the HIV/AIDS scourge and as an additional strategy to prevent the virus.
Their goal is to provide leadership in the delivery of HIV/STI prevention, care, and support services, through policy development, implementation, guidance and coordination of health sector responses leading to reduced HIV transmission and the impact of HIV and AIDS.
Conrad Ntsuape, the SMC coordinator, said that even though there are challenges that the SMC programme still faces, this has not stopped it in achieving its goal to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and making sure that the community at large is well informed.
Lebelonyane also said she would be happy if this message reached many women in Botswana as they have the power to influence their sons and partners to undergo safe male circumcision.