Isaac Ikone, "I am ready for circumcision"

The Kenyan government launched a campaign to promote male circumcision in 2008, but it has not yet reached most parts of the country. In the northwestern district of Turkana, where the practice is not part of the culture and few have even heard of it, IRIN/PlusNews spoke to Isaac Ikone, 22.



"The government has not yet come here to talk about male circumcision, but I have heard about it from friends. They say it prevents HIV and sexually transmitted diseases. If that's true, I would definitely go for it so I can remain healthy.



"A while ago a friend and I found out we had the same sexually transmitted disease, and when I began to wonder how that happened, he told me he had slept with a girl I had also slept with in town. He is the one who told me that if we were circumcised, we would not have got sick.



"My girlfriend is still in secondary school and when she is not around I try to abstain from sex, but I'm not always successful. I don't like condoms; if there is a better way to prevent HIV so that I can enjoy sex skin-to-skin, I will do it.



"I don't know exactly how circumcision stops these diseases. If the government would give us more information on how it works, and also if the procedure was free, more people would be interested.



"Maybe the old men would not agree - I have heard some of them say that they have had all the sex they are going to have, so they don't see the need for circumcision ... others think it is against our culture.



"I don't feel that way; your body is your own business, you choose what to do with it. Myself, I am ready for circumcision."



kr/ks/he



See also: RWANDA: "The invisible condom" and other male circumcision myths