More than 40 Zimbabwean lawmakers have volunteered to be circumcised as part of a campaign to boost AIDS awareness in the southern African nation, said Lovemore Moyo, the speaker of Parliament.
Legislators are “leading by example” in getting tested for HIV and being circumcised, Moyo said at a ceremony today in Harare, the capital, to mark the start of the program.
Zimbabwe has an adult infection rate for HIV, the virus that causes the fatal disease Aids, of about 15 percent, according to the National AIDS Council, a state agency. A circumcision program in South Africa found the procedure reduced the rate of HIV infections among men who had it done by 76 percent, according to a study presented at an AIDS conference in Rome last year.
“Now I can go out and speak clearly and proudly and urge Zimbabweans that this thing can be done,” Blessing Chebundo, a lawmaker from central town of Kwekwe, said. “I am more than 50 years old now and I have done it.”
Circumcision is the surgical removal of a skin that covers the tip of the penis. Studies have shown the pocket between the foreskin and the tip of the penis gives viruses and bacteria an area to grow. The foreskin has been shown to be rich in cells that carry HIV into the body.
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