Public health sites offer free voluntary male medical circumcision - 17 June 2024

Department of Health 2024/06/19 - 22:00

By Koketso Maraba & Thuso Montwedi


With the school holidays and the commencement of the winter initiation season the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) urges the public to take advantage of the free Voluntary Male Medical Circumcision (VMMC) services available at 46 public health sites across the province.

VMCC procedure is available to males aged 10 and older. Males aged 18 and above can consent for themselves, while those under the age require parental or guardian consent.

Although walk-ins are accepted, booking is encouraged to avoid long waiting time. To book an appointment, the required documents include a birth certificate or ID. For individuals who are on Antiretroviral medication (ARVs), a report for CD4 and viral load suppression is needed. 

Male circumcision significantly reduces the risk of contracting HIV infection by 60%, a lower risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), a decreased risk of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), and a reduced risk of Penile Cancer. It can prevent conditions such as phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin), paraphimosis (swelling of the retracted foreskin), and balanitis (inflammation of the glans). It is also easier to clean the penis and improves hygiene.

Those getting the service are offered voluntary counselling and HIV testing before undergoing VMMC, and they are also examined for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and foreskin abnormalities. The counselling sessions are also extended to the parents and guardians to ensure that they understand the procedure and its benefits.  

The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and takes about 30 minutes. The healing process takes around six weeks, with most care done at home. It is important that those who are already sexually active avoid sexual activity during healing to prevent complications. 

In addition, VMMC is also beneficial to females as it reduces the risk of HPV infection in men, reducing the risk of cervical cancer in their female partners. 

The public is warned not to go to unregistered or illegal initiation schools as these leads to botched circumcisions which can lead to loss of life. The GDoH works closely with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs which is responsible for monitoring of initiation schools and clamping down on illegal schools. 



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