Circumcision Care

It is very important that you do not have sex or masturbate for 6 weeks while the wound heals! If you do have sex or masturbate, you could get an infection, or you could cause damage to the wound, slowing healing and exposing yourself to HIV.

Talk to your partner before and after you have the circumcision to explain and discuss why you cannot have sex during the healing process. This will help both of you be more comfortable with abstaining from sex.

Keep the bandage on and dry for the first 2 days after your circumcision. On day 2 you should go back to the clinic or hospital so that a healthcare provider can remove the bandage and check the wound.

You must also go back to your clinic on Day 7 and at 6 Weeks after your circumcision.

If you experience excessive pain or bleeding before the time or have any concerns please contact your clinic/service provider as soon as possible.

Once you have gone to the clinic on Day 2 after your circumcision to have your bandage removed by the healthcare worker, it is recommended that you clean your wound twice a day immediately after showering or bathing to prevent infections.

To clean your wound:

  • Clean a container by rinsing the container with boiling water every time before cleaning your wound. This will help to prevent germs or bacteria that may be in the container from infecting your wound.
  • Wash your hands before starting to clean your wound.
  • Dissolve two teaspoons of salt into a cup of warm water (not hot or boiling).
  • Take a clean face cloth and dip it into the cup with the salt solution and gently wipe an area of the wound. Rinse the cloth in warm water before wiping the next area.
  • Make sure that you wipe properly around stitches without pulling them in order to prevent any infection or complications. This will prevent germs being transferred from one area to another and will help to prevent infections.
  • Once you have cleaned your wound wash out the container using soap and hot water. Cover it with a plastic bag and put it in a place where it will not get dust as this will help to prevent infections. When your wound has fully healed clean the container with soap and hot water before throwing it away.
  • The wound should remain clean and dry every day.

You should clean your wound this way for two weeks, or until the wound is closed.

More tips for circumcision care

  • Keep your penis upright, with the tip pointing up to your navel (belly button) for 7 - 10 days after your circumcision. Wear tight-fitting underwear (briefs) to keep your penis pointing up. Do not wear loose-fitting boxer shorts as your penis will hang loose and may rub against the fabric irritating the wound.
  • Wear clean underwear and clothing every day to avoid infections.
  • Your stitches will start falling out 2-4 weeks after the circumcision. Do not pull at the stitches when they start to fall out - let them fall out on their own or you could damage the wound and get an infection.
  • Some pain after circumcision is normal. After the operation you were provided with pain killers. You should take the tablets as you were told by the clinic. If pain is excessive after the operation, gets worse, or continues for more than four or five days, please contact your clinic for further advice.
  • Swelling is normal straight after the circumcision. It will go down with time. If the swelling gets worse, or there is pus or oozing this could mean there is an infection and you should visit your clinic to have this checked.

Dealing with erections

You may have unexpected erections during the circumcision healing process. These cause only mild discomfort. You can minimise these by:

  • Urinating before you go to bed and during the night
  • Try not to sleep on your back; sleep on your side with your knees drawn up towards your chest
  • Put a clean cloth soaked in cold water on your penis to make the erection go down.

Circumcision care for boys and teens

Although some cultures circumcise their boys soon after birth and some parents choose to circumcise their baby boys for hygiene or medical reasons, public clinics and hospitals provide free circumcision for boys who are 10-years-old and older. Boys younger than 10 can only be circumcised if there is a specific medical problem. Boys and young men under the age of 18 must have permission from a parent or guardian to be circumcised.

The Circumcision Process

The circumcision process for boys between 10 and 18-years old is the same as for adults. Boys and young men also undergo a counseling session where they are given all the information about MMC and then must give their consent to be circumcised. The circumcision procedure done using local anesthetic to numb the area and 30 minutes later the wound is stitched and dressed. Boys and teens are also given pain tablets to manage discomfort for the first few days after circumcision.

Caring for your son’s wound

Your son’s wound will take 6 weeks to heal, during this time he must not touch the wound except when cleaning it, and he must not masturbate or have sex, or he could damage the wound. Your son must avoid hard exercise like running, gym or soccer for 2 weeks after his circumcision.

During the healing period make sure your son knows that he can talk to you if he has any concerns about his wound, or if he experiences too much bleeding, swelling, redness, pain or oozing. If he experiences excessive pain or bleeding before the time or has any concerns please contact your clinic/service provider as soon as possible.

After your son has been circumcised he should keep the bandage on for 2 days. He must keep the bandage dry. On the second day he must go back to the clinic to have the bandage removed and have the wound checked to make sure it is healthy and healing. The health care worker will also demonstrate how to clean the wound.

He must also go back to the clinic on Day 7 and at 6 Weeks after his circumcision.

Once he has gone to the clinic on Day 2 after his circumcision to have the bandage removed by the healthcare worker, it is recommended that he cleans the wound twice a day immediately after showering or bathing to prevent infections.

If your son is under 14 you will need to help or supervise him with cleaning his wound to ensure that it is done properly and there are no infections or complications. To clean the wound:

  • Clean a container by rinsing the container with boiling water every time before cleaning the wound. This will help to prevent germs or bacteria that may be in the container from infecting the wound.
  • The person cleaning the wound must wash their hands before starting to clean the wound.
  • Dissolve two teaspoons of salt into a cup of warm water (not hot or boiling).
  • Take a clean face cloth and dip it into the cup with the salt solution and gently wipe an area of the wound. Rinse the cloth in warm water before wiping the next area.
  • Make sure to wipe properly around stitches without pulling them in order to prevent any infection or complications. This will prevent germs being transferred from one area to another and will help to prevent infections.
  • Once you have cleaned the wound, wash out the container using soap and hot water. Cover it with a plastic bag and put it in a place where it will not get dust as this will help to prevent infections. When the wound has healed fully clean the container with soap and hot water before throwing it away.
  • The wound should remain clean and dry every day.
  • Parents/guardians of boys under 12 should help apply Vaseline to the head of the penis to avoid adhesions - when skin from the shaft of the penis becomes stuck to the head of the penis.

The wound should be cleaned this way for two weeks, or until the wound is closed.

More tips for your son’s circumcision care

  • Your son should keep his penis upright, with the tip pointing up to his naval (belly button) for 7 - 10 days after circumcision. He can wear tight-fitting underwear (briefs) to keep his penis pointing up. He should not wear loose-fitting boxer shorts as his penis will hang loose and may rub against the fabric irritating the wound.
  • He should wear clean underwear and clothing every day to avoid infections.
  • The stitches will start falling out 2-4 weeks after the circumcision. He must not pull at the stitches when they start to fall out - he should let them fall out on their own or he could damage the wound and get an infection.
  • Some pain after circumcision is normal. After the operation your son was provided with pain killers. He should take the tablets as told by the clinic. If pain is excessive after the operation, gets worse, or continues for more than four or five days, please contact your clinic for further advice.
  • Swelling is normal straight after circumcision. It will go down with time. If the swelling gets worse, or there is pus or oozing this could mean there is an infection and you and your son should visit your clinic to have this checked.

Dealing with erections

Your son may have unexpected erections during the circumcision healing process. These cause only mild discomfort. These can be minimised by:

  • Making sure he urinates before he goes to bed and during the night
  • Your son should try not to sleep on his back - he should rather sleep on his side with his knees drawn up towards his chest
  • He can put a clean cloth soaked in cold water on his penis to make the erection go down.
  • About Us

    Brothers for Life is a social and well-being movement aimed at mobilising men to take responsibility for their own health. We hope to achieve this by promoting positive male norms and encourage men to test for HIV and undergo Medical Male Circumcision (MMC), actively take a stand against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in their communities.

    Our Manifesto

    Brothers who stand for responsible relationships
    Brothers who stand for responsible parenting
    Brothers who stand for responsible behaviour
    Brothers who live positively
    Brothers who do the right thing
    Brothers who stand for life