Circumcision clip faces chop
The Department of Health's plan to make the male circumcision device PrePex available has been put on ice - because it is an Israeli product.
The device was to have been introduced at clinics and hospitals next year to help fast-track male circumcision, which has been shown to reduce the likelihood of a man contracting HIV.
The department has a target of 4.3 million male circumcisions by 2016.
The department's deputy director-general for medical male circumcision, Dayanund Loykissoonlal, said the launch was being affected by the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which has led to trade union federation Cosatu calling for a boycott of Israeli products.
Loykissoonlal said that though medical male circumcision needed boosting, and PrePex was a good option, "we don't want Cosatu on our backs about this".
Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said the federation welcomed the department's decision to delay introducing the device.
"We're going to put pressure on businesses to prevent anything that comes from Israel being sold in this country," Craven said.
Mpho Maraisane, a director of the Aurum Institute, an HIV and TB consultancy, said the institute was involved in testing the device.
In the past two months it has run three studies in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West.
Eight hundred men were circumcised using the Israeli device.
Maraisane said the institute was unaware of the call for a product boycott.
The device was developed by Israeli healthcare company Circ Med Tech and has been prequalified and endorsed by the World Health Organisation.
The device consists of an elastic band that compresses the foreskin against a rigid plastic ring.
The elastic band cuts off the blood supply to the foreskin, which loses sensation and withers.
The device has to be worn for a week, after which the dead foreskin is cut away by a doctor.