Thokozani Khupe, Zimbabwe’s female Deputy Prime Minister, has a drastic solution to the stem the tide of new HIV infections in her country: Encourage her male cabinet members to get circumcised.

Citing a South African study that suggested a circumcision program in a local township prevented new HIV transmissions by 76%, DPM Khupe wants her male colleagues to “lead by example” and get circumcised.

Expectedly, male cabinet members are torn about what they should do. While some agree with DPM Khupe, others don’t think they should undergo the procedure just to set a good example.

Although circumcision can’t totally guard against HIV, proponents argue that removing the foreskin gives viruses less places to grow.  On the other hand, opponents argue that circumcision alone cannot prevent HIV and point to high transmission rates in the U.S. where circumcision is common.

While I can’t say that I’d voluntarily sign up to be circumcised if I was a healthy grown man (why not just advocate for the use of condoms?), I give DMP Khupe props for trying to inspire Zimbabwens to save themselves by any means necessary.

What do you think? Should Zimbabwe’s male cabinet members be circumcised to ‘set a good example’ for other men? Sound off! 

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  • In Zimbabwe in 2005, 14.2% of non-circumcised men had HIV, compared to 16.6% of circumcised men, according to the National Health and Demographic Surveys. Results like these should at least be explained before embarking on a huge and risky experiment with African men.