Thu, Jun 20, 2019 - Page 6 News List

FEATURE: Philippine circumcision rite puts pressure on boys

AFP, MANILA

There is evidence safe male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV in areas with epidemics, according to the WHO, which has included the procedure in some of its programs to tackle the virus in southern Africa.

However, Castro, believes removing the foreskin has a very specific value in Philippine culture.

“A circumcised lad is no longer treated as a young boy, and is now given more adult roles within family and society,” he said, adding that it is also important socially.

“A rite-of-passage is usually done collectively. There is always a group of boys who grow up together, enter school and get circumcised at the same time,” Castro said.

Prices for the surgery cost from US$40 and can cost as much as US$240 when performed in a hospital, the equivalent of a month’s pay for workers in the capital.

For boys in poor communities and their families, the free circumcision events sponsored by the government are the only option, but most go willingly and are proud to endure it.

“Going through the test of circumcision has made me a full-fledged adolescent,” 12-year-old Erwin Cyrus Elecanal said holding his hand protectively over his bandaged penis. “I will be more mature now and be helpful to my family.”

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