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Circumcision to
prevent HIV gains popularity in Swaziland

Circumcision to
prevent HIV gains popularity in Swaziland

Following reports from a South African study showing that circumcision can reduce the chances of acquiring HIV through unprotected sex by 60%, hundreds of men in Swaziland have undergone the procedure, The Washington Post reports. Circumcision was extremely rare in the country, where men considered it to be unmasculine, but hospitals report performing 10 to 15 circumcisions each week. Two-month waiting lists for the procedure are the norm at the country's hospitals, with the demand driven by adult males who hope to lower their infection risks. About 40% of adults in the nation are already HIV-positive, according to the United Nations.

Although studies to date have focused on whether circumcision can protect heterosexual men from acquiring HIV through unprotected sex, some researchers believe the procedure also could be useful for gay men. Scientists believe uncircumcised men are at a higher risk of HIV infection because sexual fluids that can contain HIV can become trapped under the foreskin of the penis and placed into prolonged contact with cells in the foreskin that are particularly susceptible to HIV infection. (

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