Malawi Rules Out Circumcision for AIDS Prevention

The government of Malawi will not promote male circumcision to fight HIV because there is not enough evidence to show it protects against the virus, two officials said Wednesday. Mary Shaba, the principal secretary for HIV and AIDS, said there is no scientific proof of circumcision's protective effect. Bernard Malango, a bishop emeritus in the Anglican Church, said HIV prevalence is high even in parts of the country where the practice is common. However, several studies in Africa have shown that male circumcision, when properly performed, reduces the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission by up to 60 percent. Citing this research, the UN said last year that universal male circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa could prevent 5.7 million new HIV infections and 3 million deaths over 20 years.