Medical male circumcision: Your questions answered

Is medical male circumcision safe?

Any surgical procedure carries risks, and medical male circumcision is a minor surgical procedure. However, because the procedure is conducted with sterile equipment by qualified personnel and follow up care is provided, the risk of any adverse event (or complication) is extremely low. If you experience excessive bleeding or pain or are concerned in any way, you should contact your service provider, or a clinic or doctor immediately.

Is medical male circumcision painful?

The surgical procedure is done under a local anesthetic so you will not feel it. After the procedure, when the anesthetic wears off, you may experience some pain, but the nurse or doctor who performs the procedure will provide you with painkillers to help you deal with this.

When the PrePex (device) is fitted, an anesthetic cream is used to avoid any discomfort. You will be given painkillers to take if necessary while the device is in place, but many clients do not experience much discomfort. During the removal of the PrePex device, there can be some brief pain, but this differs between clients.

How is medical male circumcision different to other kinds of circumcision, like traditional or religious circumcision?

MMC is different to other kinds of circumcision in three main ways.

Firstly, because of the way in which MMC is performed, you can be sure that you will receive the benefits of a reduced risk of HIV. The way other kinds of circumcisions are performed varies quite a lot, which means that you MAY be left with part of your foreskin and in that case, would not receive the benefits in terms of HIV and STI risk reduction.

Secondly, medical male circumcisions are always performed with sterile equipment by qualified medical personnel.

Thirdly, in general MMC does not have the cultural traditions attached to it, which some other kinds of circumcisions do. Some kinds of circumcision are linked with tradition or religion and have great social significance to those who undergo them. We respect this and people’s right to choose how they wish to honour their tradition.

Who does the procedure?

All of our staff who perform the procedure are qualified medical personnel who have undergone standardized, specialised training in medical male circumcision. Both male and female staff are employed to do the procedure. If you have a preference for a particular gender to perform the procedure, this can be accommodated, but it is best to make your preference known as early as possible so that arrangements can be made.

What are the benefits of medical male circumcision? Why should I have this done?

• An MMC reduces the risk of an HIV negative male contracting HIV by 60%
• reduced risk of cervical cancer for female partner
• reduced risk of sexually-transmitted infections
• makes the penis easier to clean

Will a medical male circumcision improve my sex life?

Sexual experience is subjective, meaning that different people experience sex differently. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that medical male circumcision will improve your sex life.

Will a medical male circumcision increase the size of my penis?

No, the size of your penis will not change. The appearance will be different – there will be no skin around the tip of the penis anymore, but the size will be the same.

When do they take out the stitches after my medical male circumcision?

For the surgical medical male circumcision, self-absorbing stitches are used so you will not have to have them removed.

No stitches are needed for the PrePex device circumcision method.

How long before I can have sex again after a medical male circumcision?

For the surgical procedure you must wait six weeks from the time of the procedure before having sex or masturbating.

For the PrePex device procedure, you must wait 7 weeks from the time the device is removed, NOT placed.

Who can have medical male circumcision?

The age of males targeted by this national campaign is 15-49, however, under the Children’s Act 2005 no 38, section 12(8), males under 18 can be circumcised with the consent of a parent, guardian or caregiver and children under 16 can be circumcised for a medical reason (such as HIV prevention) with the consent of a parent, guardian or caregiver.

In the Cape Metro, we cannot circumcise anyone under 15.

Medical conditions:
Certain medical conditions may also mean that we are not able to provide you with a medical male circumcision immediately until the condition has been addressed. For example, anyone with symptoms of a sexually-transmitted infection would need to be treated before they can be offered the service, and anyone with hypertension (high blood pressure) would need that condition to be brought under control before the procedure can be performed.

How much does medical male circumcision cost?

The procedure is free. All procedures are done in a safe, clinical environment.

How long does medical male circumcision take?

This depends slightly on the procedure you choose.

The surgical procedure takes 30 minutes or less.

Then you would need to come in for follow up visits 48 hours afterwards and 7 days afterwards. The healing time for the surgical procedure is 6 weeks from the procedure.

The PrePex device takes 5 to 10 minutes to place.

Afterwards you would need to come in 48 hours afterwards and on day 7 to have the device removed. Thereafter you would need to come in 48 hours after that and on day 21. The device wound takes 7 weeks to heal from the time of its removal.

Is there privacy during the medical male circumcision?

Our staff respect the privacy of the clients. The only people that are around the procedure room are the medical team.

What do I do if I get an erection after my medical male circumcision?

If you get an erection in the healing period just after your procedure it will be painful. It is therefore better if you avoid anything that might lead to an erection. You can put something cold, like an icepack, on your groin to help the erection go away.

Will a medical male circumcision protect my partner from HIV?

No, if you become infected with HIV, you will pass it on to your partner unless you use a condom.

Do I still need to use a condom if I’ve had a medical male circumcision?

Yes! Whether you have had an MMC or not, you need to wear a condom when you have sex. The MMC will reduce your risk of contracting HIV, but it will not eliminate it. You are still at risk if you do not wear a condom.

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