Print this page    •   Back to Web version of article

Jews, Muslims to Use Same Ancient Ritual Against AIDS in South Africa

June 15, 2011

South Africa is getting assistance in battling its HIV/AIDS epidemic thanks to a delegation of Jewish and Muslim mohels, who will help train health care providers in performing male circumcisions, the Israeli Ma'ariv daily reported Monday.


Male circumcision is an ancient practice in both religions. The Old Testament calls for "Brit Mila," the Hebrew term for the procedure, on a male's eighth day of life. In recent years, several studies have shown that male circumcision can reduce the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission by around 60 percent. Studies also show it lowers the chances of contracting some other diseases.

In 2008, eight medical organizations launched the Abraham Operation, in which physicians travel to African countries hard-hit by AIDS and teach local caregivers how to perform the procedure. Jerusalem AIDS Project is one of the groups supporting the project.

Israeli providers acquired experience in circumcising adult males following an immigration wave from the former Soviet Union during the 1990s. Many men requested the procedure in order to enter the Jewish covenant.

The new delegation will travel to South Africa in the coming months, focusing its efforts on Zulu tribe providers. Nurses and midwifes will be instructed on infant male circumcision. However, South African law currently does not allow for the procedure in infants for any reason. An upcoming conference in Durban is expected to address this hurdle and promote new legislation that will allow for infant circumcision.

Back to other news for June 2011

Excerpted from:
Xinhua News Agency

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. You can find this article online by typing this address into your Web browser:

General Disclaimer: is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. The information provided through should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, consult your health care provider.