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UGANDA: Cultural practice exposing women to AIDS

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

JOHANNESBURG, 17 August (PLUSNEWS) - Cultural practices among tribes in Uganda's central and western regions are exposing young women to HIV/AIDS, according to the local AIDS Commission and Makerere University.

These customs included a rite of passage in which a woman's labia minora (the inner lobes of the vagina just below the clitoris) are stretched to better please a man sexually.

Although supporters of the practice argue that "stretching" only increases the surface of the birth canal and helps widen the vaginal passage during sexual intercourse, researchers maintain that "when girls are taught about stretching their labia minora, they are awakened to their sexuality and want to try it out", leaving them more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.

According to the local New Vision newspaper, the Ugandan AIDS Commission agreed that tackling the pandemic from a cultural and gender perspective could help reduce the country's AIDS prevalence.



Recent UGANDA Reports
Global fund lifts ban on AIDS grants,  11/Nov/05
Inquiry starts into mismanagement of AIDS funds,  14/Sep/05
Government to probe use of anti-AIDS grants,  26/Aug/05
Global fund suspends anti-AIDS grants,  24/Aug/05
ARV targets achieved ahead of schedule,  20/Jul/05
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

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