AIDS: The King of Swaziland is committed to the campaign for circumcision
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AIDS: The King of Swaziland is committed to the campaign for circumcision

Manzini : Swaziland | Jul 15, 2011 at 11:17 PM PDT
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Targeting Paths to HIV Prevention

King Mswati III of Swaziland is personally committed Friday to support a campaign of mass circumcision, to fight against the spread of AIDS in this small southern African country, the world most affected by the pandemic.

Flanked by an imposing royal suite, including his mother, four of his thirteen wives and many children, dressed warriors, dancers topless and a military band, the last absolute monarch in Africa asked his subjects males to be circumcised.

"It is good that our young men have an initiative to help fight the disease," said the king in front of thousands of people in the town of Mankayane (south). "I compare this virus to a terrorist. He is there to eradicate our people."

He also asked his subjects to "stay away from activities that can give the disease."

Swaziland, home to 1.2 million people, is the country with the highest prevalence of AIDS in the world with 25.9% of its adult population HIV positive.

The prevention campaign is supported by the U.S. government is involved up to 30 million dollars (30 dollars per capita). It was launched in February in hopes of circumcision in one year 160,000 men aged 15-49 years, several studies have shown that excision of the foreskin reduces over 50% the risk of contamination of men with HIV .

But only 3,000 men were volunteers since February.

The campaigners are hoping that the king's intervention was decisive. Especially in 2000 the same king had stigmatized HIV-positive by saying that they should be "marked and sterilized."

Mswati III did not say if he intended himself to be circumcised.

Circumcision, long practiced in Swaziland, was gradually abandoned in the 19th century.

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Swaziland's King Mswati III
Swaziland's King Mswati III
rsa76 is based in Karāchi, Sind, Pakistan, and is a Reporter for Allvoices.
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