Powerful Ngoni chief Inkosi Mm’belwa V has urged men to go for male circumcision saying this reduces chances of getting HIV infection.
The chief said this on Saturday during the commemoration of the World AIDS Day presided over by Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi.
The Inkosi ya Makosi said it has been proved scientifically that circumcised men have lesser chances of getting HIV, the virus which causes AIDS than their counterparts who are not circumcised.
Most public hospitals are offering free services for male circumcision.
Circumcision is a surgical procedure in which all or part of the foreskin is removed by making a surgical cut around the head of the penis.
Foreskin tears that may occur during intercourse provide an entryway for the virus, and it traps HIV in a moist environment near the surface of the penis, allowing the HIV to live longer, according to medical experts.
Men who were circumcised also have a reduced risk of contracting sexually transmitted infectious diseases such as herpes, syphilis and gonorrhoea because of the hygiene benefits.
Taking his turn, Muluzi said over 300 000 people in the country do not know their HIV status because they have not gone for HIV test.
He said the introduction of HIV self testing services is crucial because a lot of people will now do the HIV testing themselves, saying in the past people shunned HIV tests because of fear of stagmatisation and discrimination.
Muluzi said people feared there might have not been confidentiality in the handling of the HIV test results.