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Row over circumcision advert

By Mirirai Nsingo / Published on Tuesday, 20 Dec 2016 16:09 PM / No Comments / 2268 views

20 December 2016

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AN advertisement on Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision has been blasted for promoting promiscuity with some saying the advert implies that the former gives men the power to have all the sex they want.

The advert, which came out in a daily publication last week and is part of the Kalyf kemaboss campaign, has come under fire with critiques blaming Population Services International (PSI) for sending the ‘wrong message’.

The advert says: “Be so good they can’t ignore you,” presumably in reference to women.

“The advert is in bad taste, it communicates that a circumcised man appeals to women and can get any woman he wants.

“I don’t know what they were thinking of when they came up with that advert. They should have known that people are entitled to different interpretations and while I’m sure they did not mean to cause any harm, the advert is so in bad taste.

“We have heard reports of some circumcised men who are going around boasting that they are immune to HIV, while they are not using protection.

“They need to be careful and package their message properly,” said one health lobby group director who preferred anonymity.

“The advert comes at a time when there have been unconfirmed reports that new HIV incidences are shooting up in circumcised man. Now I wonder what they are told during circumcision when we see such messages.

“It is these same circumcised men who have been reported to be insisting on paying for unprotected sex to sex workers.

“They really need to re-strategise and do proper packaging of their messages so that men appreciate the purpose and benefits of circumcision,” added another health critique.

Another HIV activist said this had potential to reverse all the gains made on circumcision as it misconstrues the real merits.

“That advert is misleading and does not pinpoint the health benefits of circumcision; it is creating macho men and will compel phallocentric men to be circumcised for wrong reasons.”

The uproar comes at a time PSI, on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Child Care, has just introduced the Kalyfe kemaboss campaign for the Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) to increase the uptake of the programme.

According to the VMMC programme, the campaign seeks ‘to encourage an important conversation about safe sex and male circumcision through a language which resonates with the audience after realising that young men often feel excluded from conversations about reproductive health issues.

Kalyfe Kemaboss is a hip hop advert song featuring Junior Brown, Tytan, Yagidojo and Shasha.

The track describes a circumcised man as a ‘boss’ who has control of their life in various aspects including his health and that circumcision is a decision that is most responsible to make when understanding what the benefits are and is a step closer to taking control of one’s life.

“Another benefit is that it reduces the chances of contracting cervical cancer in the female partner.

Therefore, living the life of a “boss” is when a man is in control of life, makes healthy, productive choices that do not put his life, or his partner’s life at risk.

“Every young man wants to leave his mark on the world, and he can only do so by overcoming challenges and learning important lessons that prepare him for the road ahead. A “boss” is every man who independently makes a choice to begin the journey towards a lifestyle that is positive and constructive.

“A “boss” is confident in himself; he is the man his friends all look up to, and the choices he makes all contribute towards a greater vision for his life. It is no secret that success and confidence are admirable,” cites part of the Kalyfe kemaboss campaign.

According to the World Health Organisation, circumcision reduces the risk of contracting HIV by 60 percent and only provides partial protection hence should be only one element of a comprehensive HIV prevention package which includes, the provision of HIV testing and counselling, treatment for sexually transmitted infections, the promotion of safer sex practices, the provision of male and female condoms and promotion of correct and consistent use.

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