The 2010/2011 Zimbabwe Health Demographic Survey report revealed that there was a mistaken belief among circumcised men that the surgery protects them from HIV infection. Shocking as it is, some men misconstrue male circumcision to be the ‘invisible condom’. Also men, who are HIV negative and are aware of it, become vulnerable when they believe that circumcision renders them immune to HIV. This undermining of condom usage and safe-sex practices in the end results in an increase in the transmission of HIV. This hinders the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. For the thousands of males undergoing the male circumcision surgery each year, male circumcision only helps them to reduce their chances of contracting HIV.
Some people also believe that circumcised men are HIV negative. The fact that there is no HIV screening before one is circumcised therefore does not go to show that circumcised males are HIV negative. In a report by WHO/UNAIDS it states that, “HIV-positive men and men who do not know their HIV status should not be denied male circumcision. This latter position reflects the possibility that denying male circumcision on the basis of HIV status could increase stigma among HIV-positive men who are not circumcised and increase the chances that HIV-positive men will seek surgery from unsafe or poorly-trained providers if they are turned away from medical points of service.”
Research also points out that women are not much protected by male circumcision. They state that the woman is at risk if sex is resumed before the wound has completely healed. Also in cases where their male partners are HIV positive and do not engage in safe sex methods because they have been circumcised, puts the woman at high risk of contracting HIV. This calls for an effective communication strategy in the health sector. Health communication strategies that are collaboratively and strategically designed, implemented, and evaluated using known attitudes and perceptions can help to improve awareness and knowledge of male circumcision in a significant and lasting way.
For instance adverts in Zimbabwe on male circumcision read, “I am smart I have been circumcised”, it can be of much better benefit if they read, “I have been circumcised I still use my condom”.