170, 000 males have undergone Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) out of an annual target of 400,000 as at June 30.

Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Administration Kennedy Malama says this represents 44 percent of the annual target adding that Zambia has averted about 17,000 new HIV infections through VMMC interventions since 2007.

Dr. Malama said in a speech read for him by Eastern Province Assistant Secretary Royd Tembo at the commemoration of the National VMMC, August campaign launch in Chipata, today.

Government will replicate the gains in the coming years with an estimated 225,000 new HIV infections to be averted by 2030, he said

he revealed that the Ministry of Health targets to circumcise 150 males across the country in the August VMMC campaign, which ends September 30.

Two million males have been circumcised since inception of the VMMC programme in 2007 as part of government’s commitment to reducing the burden of HIV and AIDS through various interventions.

And Ministry of Health Director of Clinical care, Dr Mzaza Ntele commended Government for the programme, which he said has not only prevented new HIV infections but other STIs and cervical cancer.

Meanwhile, Chipata District Commissioner Kalunga Zulu has advised all males in his district to undergo VMMC and prevent the spread of disease.

Mr Zulu who said he underwent the surgery says all males should be circumcised.