Saturday, July 19, 2008
Elders from Kenya's Luo community in western Kenya have refused to endorse a plan to promote male circumcision to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS
The Luo Council of Elders says it cannot sanction circumcision, as it is against the community's culture. A ministry of health campaign is trying to encourage more men to be circumcised by offering free circumcision services in Nyanza Province. Researchers say circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection among men. Traditionally, the Luo community does not practice circumcision, unlike some other Kenyan communities. About 2.5 million of 32 million Kenyans are currently living with HIV/AIDS. A high prevalence of HIV/AIDS has been recorded among the Luo community and experts blame this on cultural practices, such as the practice of wife inheritance. According to the custom, a widow is remarried by a brother-in-law or a suitor chosen by village elders.