Circumcision abandoned to prevent HIV infection

In an effort to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, some 350 practitioners of ritual circumcision in Ethiopia's Gonder region have agreed to abandon the practice, as well as other forms of genital mutilation.

This follows a warning by local health officials that the HIV/AIDS pandemic was aggravated by such traditional practices, often as a result of instruments not being sterilised.

The head of one of the region's social services centres, Abebaw Gegit, was quoted by the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) as saying: "The circumcisers and those engaged in harmful traditional practices have decided to abandon them after intensive sensitisation work by health officers."

Preparations are currently underway to provide loans for those abandoning the practice, to help them find alternative ways of making a living.