230 Papuans circumcised to curb HIV/AIDS
Nethy Dharma Somba
The Jakarta Post
The Papua AIDS Eradication Commission (KPAD) has overseen the circumcision of 230 Papuans using PrePex devices, a painless procedure provided by the US-based Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), at Dok II Jayapura Hospital.
'Of the 253 people who applied for circumcision, 230 had it done. Of the rest, 20 could not proceed because of previously existing penile inserts while the other three had their rings released early due to discomfort,' Papua KPAD secretary Constant Karma said in Jayapura on Monday.
Karma, who was also among those having the circumcision done, said that the circumcisions were expected to help control the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Circumcision, he said, prevented men from contracting many venereal diseases, which were considered a stepping stone in the spread of HIV/AIDS.
'By lowering the amount of venereal disease, it is expected that the spread of HIV/AIDS will also be slowed,' Karma said.
He added that the skin on the tip of the penis was where different germs causing venereal diseases might be nesting.
Earlier, Karma, a former deputy governor of Papua, revealed that the total number of people infected with AIDS in the province had reached around 19,000 since the virus was first detected in Merauke in 1992.
The device, consisting of an elastic ring that gets placed on a male's genitals for seven days, has been considered practical and easy to use and can provide a non-surgical, medical means to carry out adult male circumcisions.
The modern devices were brought into Papua and West Papua by CHAI and were first used in Indonesia and a number of African countries.
The PrePex method is used for men of 15 years of age and older. Before being circumcised, the patients underwent counseling to avoid shock after having the rings attached to their genitals.
Charles, one of the participants, said that he could still carry out daily functions after having the rings installed. Although, he said, he felt pain each morning.
'The pain came when my penis was erect but it disappeared with the erection also,' said Charles, adding that during erection the rings exerted more pressure, thus causing pain.
Charles also said that two days after the rings were attached, the skin on the tip of his penis began to blacken and on the third day it became septic and odorous.
On the seventh day, he said, the skin had dried and was then cut off and the rings were released.
Meanwhile, HIV/AIDS counselor Siti Soltief of the Dok II Jayapura Hospital said that after the rings were released, the men were not allowed to have sex within the following six weeks, to allow the cut skin to heal completely.
'All the circumcision participants have been informed of this and they have all understood and agreed to abide by it,' Siti said.
After Papua, voluntary circumcision using the PrePex device will also be conducted in Wamena, Jayawijaya, Paniai and Manokwari, in West Papua. In Jayawijaya, 220 are reported to have applied for the procedure, in Paniai 110 people and in Manokwari 220.
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