Mmegi Online :: Botswana laws discourage us - men
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Last Updated
Wednesday 17 October 2018, 15:48 pm.
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Botswana laws discourage us - men

SELEBI-PHIKWE: Men in Selebi-Phikwe have said they are hindered by Botswana laws from effectively participating and supporting their partners on HIV/AIDS issues.
By Staff Writer Thu 18 Oct 2018, 08:12 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Botswana laws discourage us - men








"Even in our workplaces we are denied permission to visit clinics with our girlfriends. We are told that we do not have children because we are not married to the mothers. Even the Minister of Health knows this. Botswana laws sidelines us when it comes to responsibility for our own children as unmarried men," the men said during a panel discussion on male circumcision and challenges faced by men in supporting their partners on issues of HIV/AIDS. The discussion was organised by BOCAIP. The men said it does not mean that those who are not married are ignorant about HIV/AIDS issues. They said only married males in Botswana are recognised as men. They said unmarried men are discouraged by the stigma associated with accompanying their girlfriends to health centres. "We are sometimes forced to ignore those (health) services due to long queues and prayer services at health facilities when we are supposed to rush to work," one of the men said. They said most men work while their female partners are free to visit health facilities. The men were speaking after BOCAIP official Rebecca Nkalanga said they are ignorant on issues of HIV/AIDS. A majority of the men rejected circumcision, which has been introduced to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Some participants suggested that the Ministry of Health should stop circumcision because it has its own shortcomings. They said the ministry should put more emphasis on condom use. They claimed that a circumcised man might

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become incontinent in old age.

Others said circumcision is going to cause many problems because it will encourage unprotected sex as the circumcised may think they are now immune from HIV infection.

Some men accused the ministry of desperation leading to the introduction of circumcision. This is despite the fact that the number of people that have already enrolled for HIV/AIDS prevention programmes are increasing, indicating that Batswana heed the ministry's calls. They did not like the six-week period in which they are not supposed to have sexual intercourse or masturbate after circumcision.

They said they want to hear first hand motivational talk from those who have been circumcised. However one of them declared that he was circumcised three years ago and everything is normal. He still uses condoms as usual.  The men wanted to know why government continues to buy female condoms while their use is very minimal. They said women must be included in panel discussions on HIV/AIDS because they sometimes mislead men into indulging in risky behaviours.  

An officer from the District AIDS Coordinating office, Elizabeth Moshi said there are many misconceptions about circumcision. She said some tribes perform it compulsory at an early age and even Jesus was circumcised. She expressed concern that some people tend to blame other illnesses on circumcision yet some health challenges comes with old age.

Health official Kodziba Magundayi said that it has been proven that male circumcision can help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS. 

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