Medical Male Circumcision (MMC)

What is Medical Male Circumcision (MMC)?

Medical Male Circumcision is the full removal of the penis foreskin, fully exposing the head of the penis. Medical Male Circumcision (MMC) is performed at a Medical facility by a qualified medical professional.

All men have the right to safe and hygienic medical male circumcision services.

In South Africa these are available at community health centres and district hospitals all over the country.

What are the reasons why circumcision is good for Men's Health

Evidence shows that the inner skin of the foreskin is more likely to absorb HIV than any other skin as it is more prone to small tears during sex.

Within the foreskin, there are cells called Langerhans and other receptor cells that attract the HI virus.

Men who are not circumcised are also more likely to get other STIs such as genital ulcers (esp. Chancroid and Balanitis) that increases the risk for HIV infection.

Benefits of Male Circumcision

When the foreskin has been completely removed under medical conditions, from the head of the penis:

  • It is easier to keep clean.
  • It eliminates bruising and tearing during sex, which makes sex more enjoyable for men and women.
  • Cells that attract HIV have been removed.
  • It reduces the risk of HIV infection but there is still a 40% chance that circumcised men can get HIV.
  • Lower risk of STIs and diseases.
  • It provides health benefits for sexual partners - Medical male circumcision (MMC) is good for a women's health too as it reduces her risk to cervical cancer by removing the human papilloma virus that is often carried in the foreskin.

What MMC doesn't do

MMC does not prevent pregnancy

Circumcised men should still use a condom every time you have sex, keep to one, sexual partner and test for HIV to know your status so that you can make the best decision for your health.

MMC does not benefit the partner of an HIV-positive man

If you are HIV-positive, you may also be circumcised, but this does not protect your partner from HIV. If you test positive for HIV, you should have your CD-4 cell count taken to determine the strength of your immune system, and you will be referred to care and support services. HIV-positive men who choose to be circumcised should continue to use condoms at all times to protect their partners from HIV and themselves and their partner from re-infection if both are HIV-positive.

MMC does not reduce your risk of HIV infection if you have anal sex.

Medical male circumcision is the best option for your sexual and reproductive health. Circumcision offers a lifetime of benefits, including better hygiene, reduced risk of sexually transmitted infections and HIV. It reduces your risk of penile cancer and your partner's risk of cervical cancer. Quite simply, getting a medical circumcision is the right thing to do.

Medical Male Circumcision (MMC) ONLY REDUCES the risk of HIV infection.

You have the right to safe medical circumcision in a hygienic and clean medical facility

Medical circumcision performed at health facilities throughout South Africa, such as clinics and hospitals will provide you with a safe, clean and hygienic MMC procedure. You have the right to Counselling and HIV testing before undergoing circumcision. When you arrive at the clinic or hospital, you will receive group counselling, and you can voluntarily undergo counselling and testing for HIV, before undergoing circumcision. You will also be examined for sexually transmitted infections and foreskin abnormalities.

Your circumcision will be performed by a trained healthprovider and it's painless and quick

The circumcision will be done by a trained health care provider (doctor or nurse) who is specially trained to perform this kind of procedure. It is done under local anaesthetic, so besides a small injection, there is no pain, and it takes only about 30 minutes. The wound is then stitched and dressed, and you are given painkillers to help manage any mild pain or discomfort you may have when the anaesthetic wears off. You are also given instructions on how to keep the wound clean while it heals, as well as a medical certificate should you require time off from work or studies while you recover.

You must not have sex until the wound has fully healed

The healing process takes six weeks, during which time you may not have sex or masturbate. If you do, the wound will take longer to heal completely - and you run a higher risk of HIV transmission. For the first few days, you must keep the dressing on and dry. You will then return to the health care provider for a follow-up visit and to have the dressing removed. After this, you should gently wash your penis with soap and water, using a soft cloth. The stitches will also fall out after 10 to 14 days.

If you have concerns, speak to your clinic or doctor

Like with any surgical procedure, there can be problems after a circumcision, but in most cases these are slight, such as reaction to the pain injection, minor bleeding, or some swelling and pain. With proper care, these issues are easily treated.