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Zimbabwean Legislators Get Circumcised, Show How to Nip H.I.V. in the Bud

A group of legislators in Zimbabwe had themselves circumcised last week to set a good example for the country, most in an impromptu surgical theater in a tent in Parliament House.

One even allowed photographers in to snap pictures of his bandage, local reporters said.Various journalists put the number circumcised at 44, or 20, or “at least 10.”

One day earlier, more than 100 legislators and staff members had H.I.V. tests, also in the Parliament building. Members of both main political parties — normally bitter rivals — had the surgery. Studies in Africa have shown that circumcision reduces by 60 percent the chance that a man will get H.I.V. from heterosexual sex.

Blessing Chebundo was the first legislator operated on. He told reporters afterward that he had been “a bit scared, but after they had explained the process, I felt at ease.”

He said he felt well enough to go play soccer, but he was speaking before an anesthetic normally would have worn off.

President Robert Mugabe recently said he worried that some of his political allies were dying of AIDS. He called on politicians to get tested and reveal the results to help reduce the stigma.

The epidemic hit Zimbabwe hard. According to the United Nations, about 14 percent of adults are infected, though that is far fewer than in 1997, when 27 percent were.

Source:  NY Times

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