Does circumcision reduce chances of contracting HIV?, Public Eye

Date: January 1, 1970
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Vox pops on whether circumcision can protect men from contracting HIV.

This article may be used to:
1. Demonstrate balanced coverage of a sensitive topic.
2. Prompt discussions around circumcision and HIV.
3. Demonstrate use of vox pops in HIV/AIDS reporting.
Trainer’s Notes: The vox pop article relies on a number of different sources, who comment from different perspectives. Numbers of women and men are evenly balanced in the article.  This is a good example of a balanced approach to a controversial topic as the comments look at both the positive and negative aspects of circumcision.
Discussion Questions:
1. Does circumcision reduce the chances of HIV ?
2. What is the value in vox pops in media ?
3. What are some culrural practices that can contribute to HIV prevelance ? HIV prevention ?
Training Exercises:
1. On the basis of the views expressed in the article, trainees could be asked to write articles on the following issues:
  • Should circumcision be conducted as part of a cultural ritual or should it only be conducted in a hospital? (the article could explore the role of culture and tradition in defining the identify of men);
  • Does circumcision actually increase the spread of HIV/AIDS because some men believe that once they have circumcised, they can no longer contract the virus and will then engage in unprotected sex?
  • What role does culture and religion play in the spread of HIV/AIDS?

Trainees can also be asked to interview men who have undergone circumcision and those that have not and ask them about their attitudes to sex, safer sex and HIV prevention.  Women should be asked for their comments

2. Review the vox pop article. Do men and women have the same views ? Why may this be ?
3. Conduct your own vox pops in order to find out public opinion on a sensitve topic.

Links to Training Resources: Gender and HIV/AIDS: A Training Manual for Southern African Media and Communicators, Gender Links and the AIDS Law Project, Chapter 7,

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