South African Province to Circumcise Prisoners in Hopes of Halting HIV Spread

KwaZulu-Natal province is offering circumcision to men in its prisons as part of South Africa's campaign to halt HIV transmission. KwaZulu-Natal's health department hopes to circumcise 2.5 million men overall by June 2014, and so far, more than 10,000 men have undergone the procedure, said Dr. Sinbongiseni Dhlomo, the provincial health chief. The province is a stronghold of the Zulu tribe; Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini recently endorsed a return to the practice, which has not been common among Zulus for many years. Multiple studies have shown that male circumcision reduces the risk of female-to-male HIV transmission by up to 60 percent. National health authorities have set a goal of performing HIV testing on 15 million South Africans, about a third of the population, by June 2011.