What we do

Medical Male Circumcision

In March 2010 the first New Start medical male circumcision (MMC) clinic began operating in Pietermaritzburg and currently the national programme performs more than 35 000 procedures a year.

The Society for Family Health (SFH) had been involved in one of the ground-breaking studies that demonstrated that MMC could reduce the risk of HIV infection by some 60% - the Orange Farm study and was committed to translating this evidence into accessible MMC services in the communities it served.

Seed funding through PSI to fund the first site in Pietermaritzburg, then funding from the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) channelled through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) helped make this goal a reality.

New Start currently has fixed MMC facilities in Witbank in Mpumalanga; Soweto and Tsakane in Gauteng; Bloemfontein in the Free State; and Pietermaritzburg and Umlaziin KwaZulu-Natal. As part of their outreach approach, New Start MMC sites periodically set up surgical facilities and perform MMC at venues in the community, such as schools and community halls.

In March 2015 the first fully mobile New Start MMC service was launched in the Umgungundlovu District of KwaZulu-Natal.

Collectively, New Start MMC services have performed more than 100 000 MMC proceduresover a period of four years and, by so doing, have averted an estimated 20 000 HIV infections.

Besides it's direcly managed sites in Witbank, Pietermaritzburg and Tsakane, New Start works with its franchised partners, the Perinatal HIV Research Unit and Thathenda Healthcare, in Soweto, Bloemfontein and Umlazi. In several instances, provincial health departments have provided space in existing hospitals and health centres for New Start MMC sites. New Start also works with a network of GPs in Ekurhuleni , namely Bokamoso Health Care, to perform circumcisions.

Generating a demand in the community for MMC services is a major activity in any site. Not only is MMC a relatively new option in the HIV prevention field, but it is an irreversible measure that usually involves surgery and therefore requires careful consideration. In some areas where New Start works, there are established communities that conduct traditional male circumcision and young men (and, in some instances, their parents) are faced with a choice between traditional and medical circumcision.

New Start is sensitive to these complexities and invests considerable effort in the marketing of MMC services within communities through periodic campaigns, community dialogues andthrough dedicated teams responsible for interpersonal communication and education of potential MMC clients.