Effect of female circumcision on HIV

The Well Project and the "A Girl Like Me" Bloggers and Booth at the International AIDS ConferenceWashington DC July 2012- Stephanie Gross   434.962.2019In this part of the world were I come from (Nigeria), our people do not see female circumcision as a big issue that needs to be talked about or to educate people about. It happened that I was called upon by a friend, to help talk to his brother who's marriage is at the peak of breaking up.

The man in question called me and I just let him talk, but before we start I made sure he understood that I am not a marriage counselor but I could try with my experience and knowledge about the issue. After he have told me everything, I need to know about him and  his wife. I asked him a question,  if I can also talk to the wife and if she is aware of our conversion, he said yes she is aware and he will be happy if she and I could talk.

The big issue is the fact that his wife dose not enjoy sex, she does not initiate sex,  all of this is the fact of their sexual life has never been enjoyed. I asked two questions, one is she pregnant and he said yes...I told him that this could be one of the reasons she does not like sex for this period, and he said it has always been like that since they got married. And my next question to him is this...Do you know if she was circumcised, and he said she said something about that to him!

He really needs help before he does something he might regret for the rest of his life. They are young couple and he is a minister in one of the big churches in Nigeria. I spoke with the wife too who confirmed that her parent told her that she was circumcised. This hit me hard to hear, she said that she thought it is a normal thing for a woman not to enjoy sex.

The man said his parents went through same issue, and they are old now but his mum was also a victim of female circumcision.  His father never enjoyed sex with wife too.

At last we were able to work things out. He wants me to come to their church to educate and sensitize them on HIV/AIDS, also on female circumcision, because this is one of the fueling factor in the spread of HIV*.

It gives me joy that they are working things out for themselves and they are happy just talking with someone. I am glad I could help...


*Female circumcision is the deliberate mutilation of the external female genitalia partially or totally for therapeutic reasons or as a result of cultural practices, predominantly popular in sub-Saharan and Northeast Africa.

Female circumcision can significantly affect the spread of HIV/AIDS because of the crude way it is been practiced. Although these practices vary from culture to culture but the baseline remains the same, unsterilized sharp objects such as knives, razors or scissors are used to carry out the act. The Human Immuno-deficiency Virus is known to be easily transmitted through the use of unsterilized sharp objects. The girl child is usually circumcised between the ages of 4 years and 10 years of age and there is no possibility of the consent of the child, some cultures carry out the act shortly after the birth of the child as an infant and they are done in most cases by the elderly women in the various communities. Sometimes, these children are circumcised in groups as the culture of the different communities. In the Yoruba culture, it is known as “Oro Idile” which is translated literally in English as “A Family Tradition”.

Also, a girl child who has been circumcised does not experience as much pleasure during sexual intercourse when she becomes sexually active and this leads to a rippling effect of sexual promiscuity and infidelity by either or both parties. One of the most prevalent ways of transmitting HIV/AIDS is true unprotected sexual intercourse.

Editor's note: For more information on this topic, also known as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and its widespread practice in Nigeria (among many other countries), please click here.




Free's picture

Why is this done to females ?


ellejay's picture

Good work Boseoluto.
It's fantastic work you are doing I take my hat off to you.


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