The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) has joined others in warning against the male circumcision Tara KLamp, which is being used by the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Health.

The TAC said it supports voluntary medical male circumcision as an effective HIV prevention method because studies have shown that medical male circumcision can reduce a heterosexual man’s chances of contracting HIV by 60%.

It added however that it is alarmed by the use of the Tara KLamp in performing medical male circumcisions “as it has been shown to be unsafe for use on adult and adolescent males”.

The Malaysian developed KLamp is a plastic clamp that is attached to the penis and then falls off, along with the foreskin, after about a week. Its proponents claim that it is faster at circumcising than other methods.

However, there have been reports from clinical trials in South Africa that those circumcised with the KLamp are more likely to have complications, including bleeding, compared to the usual surgical means.

The TAC called on the KZN Department of Health “to recall the use of the device”.

Studies on the effect of circumcision on reducing HIV infection have focused on heterosexual men, so the effect on gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men remains inconclusive.

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