What is circumcision?

Male circumcision is an operation where the foreskin on the head of the penis is removed. As a male over the age of 16 years old, you can choose to be circumcised at a local clinic or hospital – if you are younger you can also be circumcised with permission from your parents or guardian. Some babies are circumcised when they’re born.

Find out some facts about circumcision:

  • Circumcision reduces your chances of getting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) but you can still get infected. Using a condom every time you have sex is important and is a must!
  • You can still get someone pregnant even after getting circumcised.
  • Circumcision does not affect the size of your penis or your sex drive.
  • Circumcision does not reduce your risk of HIV infection if you have anal sex.
  • Chances of HIV infection are higher than normal while the circumcision wound is healing so wait to heal before you have sex.

Here is what to expect when you go for a circumcision:

  • When you arrive at the clinic or hospital, you will receive counselling. You will also be tested for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • A nurse will prepare you for the operation and then your circumcision will be done by a doctor who is specially trained for the operation. Circumcision is done under local anaesthetic (an injection that numbs the area to ensure there is no pain during the operation). 
  • The operation takes between 20 and 30 minutes – it can be done at a clinic and you don’t need to stay overnight.
  • After the operation, you will be given instructions on how to keep the wound clean while it heals and painkillers to help manage any pain you may have when the anaesthetic wears off.
  • After circumcision, avoid sex or masturbation for 6 weeks until the wound heals completely

Learn more about erections here

Want to find out more about the male reproductive system? Click here

Circumcision only reduces your chances of getting HIV but you are still at risk if you have unprotected sex. Find out what to do if you think you’ve been exposed to HIV here

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