Vincent Okello, 27, was one of the many men who turned up for circumcision in northern Uganda in recent months.

Yet despite his interest in the exercise, Okello is concerned about the reaction of his wife once he returns home.

This is because of reports that some women in the north have rejected their circumcised men, accusing them of having become sexually weaker after undergoing the operation that experts say helps reduce the chances of contracting the deadly HIV/Aids virus.

“I came here for circumcision after hearing messages from the media about the benefits of circumcision; that it protects us from acquiring HIV/Aids and other infections like Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs,” Okello said. “However, my concern is about my wife who is likely to abandon me after circumcision following misconceptions from the public that I will become sexually less powerful.”

Okello told The Observer at Gulu hospital, that some of his colleagues who were circumcised before had already been abandoned by their wives. However, according to Roselyn Oyella, the safe male circumcision counsellor at Gulu hospital, such perceptions are false.

“If you have been impotent you remain impotent. If you have been sexually active, there won’t be any change after circumcision,” Oyella said.

Virility is not the only reason why circumcision is causing conflict in families, according to Stuart Ochora, 25, a resident of Layibi village in Gulu Municipality. It is said that the practice contradicts local cultural norms and many locals think it is meant to convert people to Islam.

Medical personnel such as Dr Leonard Were, the voluntarily medical male circumcision (VMMC) officer, attribute the lopsided perceptions to lack of or limited sensitisation of people, especially women, about the importance of circumcision in the fight against HIV/Aids.

“Because of removing the foreskin of the penis, the virus has lesser area [through which] to enter the man during sexual intercourse,” Dr Were said.

Dr Were, who is also the programme officer of the Northern Uganda Health Integration to Enhance Services (NU-HITES) project, says for the last one-and-a-half years, 74,000 men have been circumcised in northern Uganda by NU-HITES project alone. However, he fears that due to cultural beliefs and lack of sensitisation about its importance, they might fail to meet their target of circumcising 100,000 males every year.

The RDC of Gulu, Catherine Lamwaka, said the low number of males circumcised would eventually become a social and economic burden to government.

“We are fighting hard to sensitise people in the region about the importance of circumcision,” Lamwaka said.

At 8.3 per cent, northern Uganda has the second highest HIV/Aids prevalence rate, after the central region.

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+4 #1 ugandan by nature 2014-06-27 01:21
The scared looks of the two girls in the picture seem to confirm that circumcised men have no future in Gulu!!

But are those kids supposed to witness the "cutting"?
+2 #2 Baale 2014-06-27 04:28
I don't blame them, if some body can not climb a hill when still young, you can't tell them to climb a mountain when they old.
-8 #3 Betty Long Cap 2014-06-27 05:01
There are valid reasons including cancer of the foreskin for a man to be circumcised. That decision should be entirely his.

A woman who would abandon her circumcised husband is a covenant breaker.
+2 #4 Betty Long Cap 2014-06-27 07:12
Quoting ugandan by nature:
But are those kids supposed to witness the "cutting"?

Excellent question, Ugandan by nature. Circumcision is not a spectator sport.
+4 #5 J. Douglas 2014-06-27 11:09
Please see the following link for a brief summary, with linked references, of the ethical, legal and methodological flaws with past research informing the present campaign of circumcision-as-HIV-preventative in Africa (which also inform much of the "renewed interest" in circumcision in the English-speaking world), some of the adverse consequences of funding circumcision-as-HIV-preventative in Africa (coercion of men and boys to be circumcised; misdirection of limited medical resources from higher priority areas) and the absence of oversight of organisations promoting and facilitating male circumcision in Africa:
+7 #6 Bayomba 2014-06-27 11:15
I thought there would be some gender sensitivity in these matters. Like men circumcising fellow men, hello!!

Well I am a coward when it comes to volunteering myself for these statistical achievements. And the Mrs is not complaining.

I am not doing it. Period!
-1 #7 oska 2014-06-27 12:14
Those are Nurses, not kids. Get serious.
+11 #8 Joseph4GI 2014-06-27 14:07
The women ought to be concerned. What else could a man wanting to get circumcised mean, other than that he plans to cheat on her with other women? Why does a married man need to be circumcised, if he is faithful to his wife?

And why would single men be interested in circumcision if it means they still have to wear condoms? If circumcision protects, but you still have to wear condoms, why not just skip the cut and wear condoms? How stupid do those "VMMC" promoters think African men are?
+8 #9 Nkongih lll 2014-06-27 14:47
That circumcision protects one from acquiring HIV/Aids is delusional. Those who hold such a view are purveyors of promiscuity.

Dr Were and Roselyn Oyella shouldn't be making controversial utterances. Circumcision is a 'traumatic exercise'. If I may attempt to juxtapose Gulu wives rationale from a free thinking perspective.

Judith Herman, Harvard psychiatrist, professor and author (Trauma & Recovery, 1992) writes that after a traumatic event " a sense of alienation, of disconnection, pervades every relationship".

Circumcision is connected with vaginal discomfort. Women are less likely to "really get into it" and more likely to "want to get it over with" if their partner was circumcised.

With circumcised partners, women are more likely to feel unappreciated, distanced, disinterested, frustrated, and discontented. Where partners are not circumcised, women are more likely to feel intimate with partners, relaxed, warmth, mutual satisfaction, and "complete as a woman,". So there !!!!!
+6 #10 Mark Lyndon 2014-06-27 15:10
From a USAID report:
"There appears no clear pattern of association between male circumcision and HIV prevalence—in 8 of 18 countries with data, HIV prevalence is lower among circumcised men, while in the remaining 10 countries it is higher."

It seems highly unrealistic to expect that there will be no risk compensation. The South African National Communication Survey on HIV/AIDS, 2009 found that 15% of adults across age groups "believe that circumcised men do not need to use condoms".

It is unclear if circumcised men are more likely to infect women. The only ever randomized controlled trial into male-to-female transmission showed a 54% higher rate in the group where the men had been circumcised.

ABC (Abstinence, Being faithful, and especially Condoms) is the way forward. Promoting genital surgery seems likely to cost African lives rather than save them.
+5 #11 Marilyn Milos, RN 2014-06-27 17:11
Circumcision and STDs rates are both very high in the USA, and a half-a-million circumcised men have died from AIDS here. The foreskin does NOT cause disease, where it's been can!

Ccondoms are 98% effective and 95 times more cost-effective than circumcision without the risks. Amputating the protective, nerve-laden foreskin diminishes a male's sexual sensitivity and his ability to ride the wave to orgasm.

The callousing of the glans that occurs following circumcision makes sex uncomfortable for the female partner. Form cannot be altered without altering function and circumcision disturbs and diminishes normal sexual activity for both the male and his partner.
+2 #12 Betty Long Cap 2014-06-27 17:33
Quoting Nkongih lll:
With circumcised partners, women are more likely to feel unappreciated, distanced, disinterested, frustrated, and discontented.

Where partners are not circumcised, women are more likely to feel intimate with partners, relaxed, warmth, mutual satisfaction, and "complete as a woman,". So there !!!!!

Nkongih lll, 85% of American men are circumcised. America's birth rate is falling below two point. You may have stumbled upon the reason why.
+6 #13 Nkongih lll 2014-06-27 17:59
In order to enlighten those rooting for circumcision and make them realize the entanglement and complex of this debate, let me put a cat among the pigeons ... having read Dr. Ronald Goldman (Circumcision : The Hidden Trauma, 1997) and Lindsey R Watson (Unspeakable Mutilations, 2014) I can categorically state that it is possible to compare circumcision rates by country to prevalence of "male abuses" toward women that include violence, isolation, repression, murder, rape, and 'forced marriages'.

The worst countries for women (where women are treated with uttermost contempt) are Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Sudan, Nepal, Somalia, Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo and Pakistan. These countries have a male circumcision rate of 96%+ .... well, well, well!!

Before some people can contemplate wringing my neck, let me make it absolutely clear that I am only trying to highlight the dilemma, the complex and the ambiguity of taunting male circumcision.
0 #14 Akot 2014-06-27 18:40
The reason why people in the West did not embrace circumcison to reduce infections by HIV-AIDS virus is because it was proved this genital mutilation doesn't reduce the risk as previously believed! So all went silent on it, especially the scientific-political vocals!

Though circumcision is recommended for medical reasons - one of my neighbours little boy was circumcised because he couldn't uninate well-was in so much pain: now after operation, he is well!

It's amaizing that when what the West tells the world is scientific proof, yet proves to be false later-of insignificant result, is not published for the rest of the world to know!

Societies that circumcise females do so to stop them enjoying sex for pleasure; they believe their females are for just child bearing & can't tolerate them expressing their satisfaction during sexual act!
+1 #15 Akot 2014-06-27 18:47
Betty Long Cap, thanks!
You know to my knowledge there is only 1 tribe (Bagisu in East), that have a tradition of circumcision! I have never know any other tribe in Uganda having this tradition!

Even then, with education & living with the rest of tribes in different districts, many of Bagisus abandoned this practice - but then education in our country has never been the privilage of the majority!
0 #16 Akot 2014-06-27 18:56
I agree with you! It's already psychological stressfull to accept-understand operations when one is really ill & need circumcison-operation; how do we in a world we say developed, do what we are fighting in the West as evil-genital mutilation?

Families from W.Africa are before courts in UK-France for circumcising their children: there are emergency open phone n° for children at risk of being circumcised to call for help!
0 #17 Akot 2014-06-27 19:02
Joseph4GI, thank you so much!
Our world today is so confused-pretentious that any one can come up with ideas & force all to accept; yet when these prove to be false-bad-of no use-ill intended, it's already too late for those who believed earlier! All go on with life without mentioning mistakes & as time passes, all forget & we never learn!
+3 #18 Akot 2014-06-27 19:14
Nkongih lll,
You hit right on spot! How many women climax-are taken to Heaven with a man wearing plastic on his penis?

It's the natural skin/body contact that excite/unite man & woman & drive them to conclude & want to start all over again as they feel like!

For prostitutes, it's perfect, they don't need to enjoy sex-climax; so plactic wearing by men is perfect!
0 #19 Akot 2014-06-27 19:25
Mark Lyndon, thank you so much!
This explains why there are no units in developed countries for circumcision as measure to stop spread of HIV-AIDS; they know that other than making governments pay more in health services, circumcision doesn't play proven significant role in fight against HIV-AIDS!

This is why UK-France... arrest parents who circumcise their children calling it "genital mutilation" - parents are before justice for subjecting their children to this cruel practice the West call "primitive cruel mutilation" & is totally in acceptable in their countries!
+2 #20 Khadijja Nampiima 2014-06-27 19:48
Nkongih lll, as a woman who has had an intimate relationship with a circumcised male and also with uncircumcised one, I fully understand where you are coming from and thank you very much for putting it so succinctly.

You sure are the best!!!!!!!!

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