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Traditionalists call for virginity testing in HIV/AIDS campaign
Wednesday 30 March 2005
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SOUTH AFRICA: Traditionalists call for virginity testing in HIV/AIDS campaign

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 30 August (PLUSNEWS) - An NGO in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province has called for revival of the cultural practice of virginity testing to promote abstinence.

According to Nomagugu Ngobese, founder of the Nomkhubulwane Culture and Youth Development Organisation, which is conducting virginity tests throughout the province, the only way to curb the pandemic was to teach the youth about sex "from the African perspective".

A local newspaper, The Sunday Tribune, reported that in July about 3,000 young girls had attended a regional testing festival.

But anthropologist Suzanne Leclerc-Madlala of the University of KwaZulu-Natal noted that although virginity testing had its advantages, it was discriminatory, as only women were tested. "What is the responsibility of men in this?" she said. "They are the other half of the equation. We should also target men if we want to stop AIDS."



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