By Kennedy Owino
Radio Pacho is found in Siaya town broadcasting wide enough to crisscross three or four other neighbouring counties through the frequency of 88.3 fm. That is where the radio presenter Bande Edward hosted Job Kajwang and I on the eve of Friday 17th August, 2018 from 9:20pm to a few minutes before midnight. We boldly conflated mind-boggling circumcision information based on past and recent scientific research findings to the listeners who were lucky to have tuned in during our show.
The latest 2018 HIV estimates, says that Siaya County recorded 4,093 new HIV infections putting it among the five counties which have the highest number of deaths arising from HIV-related illnesses. In 2013, the HIV prevalence rate in Siaya County was 23.7% , while in 2015 the prevalence rate rose to 24.8% rendering null and void the much hyped 60% risk reduction rate by the circumcision proponents. Human Papillomavirus (HPV ), the virus that causes cervical cancer has unfounded association majorly within the population of intact men as claimed in the circumcision literature. Proven scientific research has revealed that cervical cancer is found in both circumcised and intact communities. It is prevented by vaccines and the chances of getting HPV can be lowered by condoms, not circumcision. However, wives of intact men have been used as baits through the scare tactic to convince their husbands to go for circumcision with the false claim that they are at greater risk of cervical cancer infection.
During the second hour of our radio show when phone and sms numbers were opened by our host, Bande Edward, calls trickled in from different people living within Siaya County and those neighbouring it. Some listeners sought help on how they could reverse the regrettable loss of their valuable foreskins, others applauded our work of informing the misinformed while some accused us of misinforming the informed. There was a listener who called saying that the foreskin stores dirt, is weak and easily gets injured by friction during sexual intercourse. Another caller who, apparently, was a Christian evangelist, did not understand why people cut the foreskin which has been created by God, besides saying that the ongoing mass male circumcision goes contrary to the teachings of Christianity. He commended Job for reading the biblical verses earlier in the programme on why physical circumcision is not a religious necessity in the life of a true Christian. One married man narrated how his circumcision was occasioned by a wound that had formed under the foreskin, boasting of improved sexual prowess and longer duration before ejaculation during copulation after circumcision. One call came from someone who erroneously believed that circumcision protects(he did not specify whether men , women or both) against cancer, and not HIV.
Towards midnight two callers, each sadly gave a testimony of how circumcision had crippled their sex lives. One was a school student in 2012 when he decided to go for the cut. The consequence was drastic loss in sensitivity. He wished he had not gone for the cut. The second one also went for circumcision in the same year. Spots developed on his exposed glans leading to erectile dysfunction. He cannot forget one night when his penis failed to have an erection after several attempts with his girlfriend who had come visiting, when the erection emerged at around 4am it was unfortunately short-lived.
There was a caller who said that condom use interferes with sex, some men and women are allergic to latex and that condom has a possibility of bursting while circumcision does not burst (something like a circumcised penis does not burst ). A 30 year old man said that he does not like circumcision at all. He has lived all those years with his foreskin without any problem. Another caller from within Siaya town thought that circumcision is of no help,however, his inquiry was on who has the highest chance of getting an STI between a circumcised and an intact man during heterosexual intercourse.
Due to restraint of time and human ability , we could not receive all the calls, and neither could we respond to all the messages.And that is the summary of what transpired from our live on-air-radio talk show in Siaya town.
Kennedy Owino is the Director of Intact Kenya.
NCFM Kenya Liaison Kennedy Owino, Reports on Intactivist work in Africa
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