Saturday, August 21, 2010
AIDS activists in Swaziland have criticized a top adviser to King Mswati III for saying the country's HIV epidemic is being exaggerated
Prince Mangaliso said public awareness campaigns against HIV amounted to little more than scare tactics. He added that male circumcision was no more a preventative measure than bathing after sexual intercourse. According to UNAIDS, Swaziland - Africa's last absolute monarchy - has one of the highest levels of HIV infections in the world, with a prevalence rate of 26% in the adult population and that 42.6% of pregnant women in kingdom were infected with HIV. Trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa have shown that male circumcision reduces by 60% the risk of a man contracting HIV - the virus that causes AIDS. Forty-two-year-old King Mswati, who has 13 wives, has also come in for criticism from AIDS campaigners for sending the wrong message to his subjects by promoting polygamy.