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‘NO CIRCUMCISED MEN FOR US’

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image Mavis, a sex worker spoke on behalf of her colleagues in the Manzini-Matsapha corridor. She said circumcised men were not good clients. (pics: Mfanukhona Nkambule)

MANZINI – Sex workers in Manzini and Matsapha have banned circumcised men from seeking their services because they take rather too long to reach orgasm.


Before offering their sex services, they check all potential clients, to see if they are circumcised or not. In case one is circumcised, he is denied sexual services or is ordered to follow strict rules such as finishing a ‘round’ within five minutes at a charge of E100 (about US$6).


Uncircumcised men are charged E50 for a five-minute ‘round’. However, certain sex workers can spend the whole night with a circumcised man, on condition he is prepared to pay a special full-night charge of E800. On the other hand, an uncircumcised man can spend the whole night with a lady of the night at a full-night rate of E350 - E400.


The sex industry is becoming too expensive for the circumcised man. There are at least 80 000 men who are circumcised in Swaziland.
World Health Organisation (WHO), an agency of the United Nations (UN), recommended male circumcision as one component for reducing the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men by approximately 60 per cent.


However, WHO also warned that male circumcision provided only partial protection, and, therefore, should be only one element of a comprehensive HIV prevention package which includes: the provision of HIV testing and counselling services; treatment for sexually transmitted infections; the promotion of safer sex practices; the provision of male and female condoms and promotion of their correct and consistent use. Swaziland has the world’s highest estimated prevalence of HIV-infected adults (26 per cent of people aged 15-49).


In a population of 1.2 million people, there are over 200 000 people living with HIV. Meanwhile, there is no room for cheating sex workers in Manzini and Mbabane as they are so organised that any man trying to entice them into a long sex session at cheap rates is attacked by a group of sex workers and male bodyguards deployed at strategic areas.


Interviewed by the Times SUNDAY, seven (7) of them said sex trade required men who reached orgasm quicker; pointing out that the quicker the man reached organism, the quicker they made money. Interviewed sex workers were between the ages of 18 and 30. They were interviewed on the implications of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMCC) on the sex industry.


One of them, Mavis, said a circumcised man was good for a steady relationship or marriage because he took too long to reach orgasm but the sex industry favoured the uncircumcised men. “This is not to suggest that men must not get circumcised. We encourage them to do so. I would love to have a circumcised man as my husband or boyfriend, not as a client,” Mavis said.


Prudence agreed with Mavis that she would appreciate to have a circumcised man as her husband, not as a client.
Prudence allowed this newspaper to take her picture but asked that her face be not revealed to the public. She said she did not want the public to know that she was a sex worker. “I don’t offer my services to a circumcised man because he takes too long to reach orgasm,” she said.


She went on to say that she had a serious fight with a circumcised man in 2014 over difficulties to reach orgasm. “I told him to stop it because he had not completed his round after 10 minutes but he stubbornly refused, arguing that he had paid his money for the sexual service. She irritated me and I pushed him away. We fought until my sisters (referring to her colleagues) joined the fight. That’s when he left,” she said.


In order to avoid fights in future, she said, she made it her habit to first ask the men to declare their circumcision status before she offered sexual services to them. “I’m comfortable with a man who agrees to complete one round within five minutes,” she said.
Another sex worker, Gabisile, said she tried to inflate prices for circumcised men but this plan did not work as she would get tired after the first round.


She said she was lucky that all the circumcised men who slept with her used a condom. Gabisile said her friend, whose name she did not disclose, confided in her that she once slept with a circumcised man without a condom.
Her friend, she said, told her it was the first time she had sex with a circumcised man without a condom.  “Yes, we do have cases of circumcised men who want to have sex with us without protection,” she said.


“We often refuse to entertain them but they always flash large sums of money and we are here for money, so I hope you understand me,” she said.
She, too, said she would love to marry a circumcised man because of hygiene.


OTHER SWAZI WOMEN DIFFER?

MBABANE – The Medical Male Circumcision Department of the Ministry of Health denies allegations that male circumcision leads to bad sex life in terms of reaching orgasm quicker.


Vusi Maziya, the Senior Programme Officer, said scientific, peer reviewed, studies with large sample sizes, had demonstrated that circumcision did not have an adverse effect on sexuality.


In an interview, he said, most (if not all) circumcised had no difficulty reaching orgasm but simply lasted a bit longer and enjoyed sex longer.
“Some argue that if circumcision had a negative effect on sexuality, countries or tribes such as Xhosas where circumcision is a common procedure, would have many cases of women complaining about sex,” Maziya argued.


On the other hand, the health expert said sex remained an intricate and multifaceted activity, which involved different emotions, physical and social factors such as pain on sensitive parts of the body.


He said circumcision was the surgical removal of the foreskin whereby the sensation on the nerve endings supplying the head of the manhood were not disturbed at all during the circumcision procedure.


“Therefore, the sensation remains the same,” he said.
He said the colour of the circumcised tip of the penis might change over time but the texture remained the same.
“So, ideally, circumcision should not result in any hard layer of skin being deposited on the head of the manhood,” he said.  
Maziya said many Swazi women, in general terms, preferred their partners to be circumcised.


This is according to a survey conducted by the Centre for HIV and AIDS Prevention Studies (CHAPS) among female students of Limkokwing University in Mbabane.
Out of the interviewed female students, 90 per cent of them said they preferred their partners to be circumcised.


He said the female students said they would support and encourage their partners to go for circumcision. He also said most circumcised men were responsible and used condoms appropriately.
On the contrary, Maziya said it was often uncircumcised men who were less responsible by not using the condoms.


‘FORESKIN NOT USED TO MAKE CHICKEN SPICE’

MBABANE – Some men in the country allegedly circulated the myth that foreskins removed during voluntary male circumcision were used to make a certain chicken spice available in the country’s shops.


This myth almost pulled down Swaziland’s Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) programme as many people believed the delicious spice was made of human flesh – the foreskins. The name of the chicken spice cannot be revealed for legal reasons. The Medical Male Circumcision in the Ministry of Health has advised the public not to accept this false belief.


The department of male circumcised said it was happy to have successfully debunked this myth, as it was no longer a topical issue in the forums it had with men.
In an interview, Vusi Maziya, the Senior Programme Officer in the Medical Male Circumcision Department said there was, in the first place, no scientific evidence to substantiate the belief that the foreskins were used to make the chicken spice.  


He said the ‘chicken spice myth’ used to be an issue, “but not at the current period. Myths were common in the initial stages of the programme. Swazis are now familiar with circumcision and myths therefore subsided,” he said.There are now 80 000 circumcised men in Swaziland. The target is to circumcise 227 670 male infants, adolescents and adults by 2018.


THE GREAT PREPEX ALTERNATIVE


MBABANE – Employers and workers urge government to offer the prepex device as an alternative to surgical circumcision.
Both workers and employers said the device could work for them because they would not need to apply for a three-day leave for healing.
A male undergoing circumcision through prepex does not go under the knife. Prepex, which is a device, is placed at the base of the manhood, and its inner ring is inserted into the foreskin.


Then the device stops the flow of blood and oxygen to the foreskin tissue. The dead tissue naturally detaches or is easily removed after seven days. The procedure has been clinically validated by World Health Organisation (WHO). It is a bloodless procedure in non-sterile settings conducted without the need for injected anesthesia.


Vincent Ncongwane, the Secretary-General of the Trade Unions Congress (TUCOSWA), said he got circumcised some years ago but had not yet heard of the device.


When it was explained to him, he said workers would really appreciate to use it as an alternative to surgical circumcision. “I think both Prepex and surgical circumcision can complement each other,” he said.


TUCOSWA has a membership of over 30 000 workers in gainful employment. Ncongwane said TUCOSWA had HIV programmes. “We take HIV seriously,” he said.


Thobile Dlamini, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Swaziland Business on Health and AIDS (SWABCHA), said since no employer could allow a large number of workers who had just been circumcised to proceed on leave, Prepex could be an alternative. 


Dlamini said there was, however, a great need for training on prepex because it had not been introduced in the country. She said it would be in the best interests of the country to have the traditional method of circumcision and the prepex.“A male can then choose between the two,” she said.





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