What is Medical Male Circumcision (MMC)?
MMC is the full removal of the foreskin, fully exposing the head of the penis. It is a simple and safe procedure that is performed at specialised clinics and district hospitals by a qualified doctor or healthcare worker. You can find your nearest clinic here
The Benefits of MMC
The skin of the foreskin contains unique cells, called Langerhans cells, that attract the cells that produce HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STIs). The foreskin can also suffer small tears or bruising from friction during sex, making it vulnerable to infections.
Many men and boys also suffer from non-sexually transmitted infections of the foreskin that cause genital warts or pain and discomfort.
Removing the foreskin has many benefits:
- It is easier to keep the penis clean.
- It lowers the risk of HIV and STIs. It does not remove the risk entirely. Circumcised men must use condoms. * There is less chance of bruising and tearing during sex, which makes sex more enjoyable for men and women.
- Circumcision reduces women's risk of cervical cancer
- Many women prefer sex with circumcised men. The penis looks, feels and smells better. Some women believe that sex lasts longer and is more pleasurable with circumcised men.
What MMC doesnt do?
- It reduces but does not remove the risk of HIV infection and STIs. Circumcised men must still use a condom.
- If you are HIV positive, circumcision will not protect your partner from HIV. Even if you are circumcised, you MUST use condoms at all times to protect your partner from HIV. Even if she is positive, you must use a condom to protect both of you from re-infection.
- MMC does not reduce the risk of HIV infection if you have anal sex with a man or woman. Wear a condom.
It is very painful.
There is obviously some discomfort with any medical procedure, but most men say that the procedure and recovery and less painful than they expected them to be. A local anaesthetic before the procedure means it is not painful, and with the right care the wound heals well.
How do I locate my nearest clinic?
Visit www.healthsites.org.za and select your province and the closest clinic to where you live.
How much is the service?
Medical Male Circumcision is offered free of charge from government clinics and hospitals. The list of all government and partner facilities that offer the service is available at www.healthsites.org.za.
How long does the wound take to heal?
It only takes six weeks.
You have the right to a free, safe circumcision conducted by a senior health care provider in a clean and hygienic medical facility.
You have the right to Counselling and HIV testing before undergoing circumcision. This is advisable but not compulsory. It is illegal to test anyone for HIV without their permission. Before the circumcision, you will undergo an examination for infections and foreskin abnormalities, and receive treatment MMC if necessary.
A specially trained doctor or nurse performs the circumcision. You will receive a local anaesthetic, which is a small injection at the base of the penis. You won't feel any pain. The whole procedure lasts around 30 minutes. The health care worker will stitch and dress the wound, and give you painkillers so that you won't be uncomfortable when the local anaesthetic wears off.
The wound takes six weeks to heal. You have to keep the wound clean and dry. You have to visit the clinic two days after the procedure and then again on the seventh day after the procedure. This is very important. The health care providers will check that you are cleaning the wound properly and that you are not in any discomfort. You can find advice on how to care for your wound here.
A man may not have sex or masturbate for six weeks after the circumcision, until the wound has fully healed. Sexual activity can delay the healing process.
If you want to talk to someone about medical circumcision, here are some free phone numbers.
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