BLANTYRE, Malawi — Malawi will not officially promote male circumcision as an HIV-prevention strategy, said two officials, citing a lack of evidence to support the practice.
"We have no scientific evidence that circumcision is a sure way of slowing down the spread of AIDS," said Dr. Mary Shaba, a top HIV/AIDS official in Malawi, said Wednesday.
Shaba said she had seen studies that showed a comparatively low rate of HIV/AIDS in countries where circumcision is encouraged or mandated. But she said she believed circumcision may not be the only reason for this.
Chairman of the National AIDS Commission and Anglican Bishop Emeritus Bernard Malango said studies in Malawi raised doubts about the effectiveness of circumcision in preventing HIV.
"If you go to areas where circumcision is practiced, you still find a good number of people that are HIV-positive," he said.
The UN said last year that studies show universal male circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa could prevent 5.7 million new infections and 3 million deaths over 20 years.