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International News

Local African Leaders Question Widow "Sexual Cleansing" Tradition in Light of AIDS Pandemic, New York Times Reports

May 11, 2005

The HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa has encouraged women's advocates and local leaders to "speak out publicly against so-called sexual cleansing," in which a newly widowed woman must have sex with one of her husband's male relatives in order to "exorcise" his spirit, the New York Times reports. Some people believe the practice contributes to the spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, where about 25 million people are HIV-positive and about 60% of them are women. In Zambia, where the HIV prevalence rate among adults is about 20%, President Levy Mwanawasa has said that the tradition should be "discouraged," and tribal chiefs throughout the country no longer are enforcing the practice, according to the Times. However, "change is coming slowly, village by village, hut by hut," because for many people "the fear of flouting tradition often outweighs even the fear of AIDS," the Times reports (LaFraniere, New York Times, 5/11).

Back to other news for May 11, 2005


Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.



  
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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