Papua to Require Male Circumcision in AIDS Fight
The Jayapura administration is planning to require male residents to undergo circumcision in an effort to cut HIV/AIDS transmission rates in Papua.
Edison Muabuay, an administration spokesman, said the program was spurred by numerous studies worldwide that found circumcision to be an effective tool against the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The World Health Organization has said that male circumcision, performed by well-trained professionals in sterile settings, can reduce the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by 60 percent.
“Therefore, the obligatory circumcision will be regulated in 2012, to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in Papua,” Edison said on Sunday.
There are 796 people with either AIDS or HIV on record in Papua, according to data from the Aids Handling Commission (KPA) and Health Department of Papua, including 335 HIV cases and 461 AIDS cases.
Of those cases 330, or 41.5 percent, are male, and 466, or 58.5 percent, are female.
“The worst is that the disease infects people of all ages and sexes. This number should be our concern and [we need to] take breakthrough steps. In Papua, we will require circumcision,” Edison said.
He declined to go into further detail on how the administration would compel males to report for circumcision, or what would happen to those men who failed to do so.
Details on how many men were targeted for circumcision through the program were unavailable as well.
The Health Department and Regional Public Hospital of Yowar in Jayapura have been ordered to provide the necessary instruments and supplies for the program, but will receive funding from the 2012 regional budget, Edison said.
“The instruments will be distributed among the clinics of districts because the program not only covers people in towns, but also villagers.”
According to KPA data, HIV/AIDS affects Papuans of all different backgrounds, from sex workers to housewives to even a handful of religious leaders.
“Those prove that the handling of HIV/AIDS is the collective responsibility of society, religious leaders, indigenous leaders, youths and also government,” Edison said.