JOHANNESBURG — Five Southern African countries are encouraging more men to be circumcised after a study showed the procedure can help reduce HIV infection. The appeal came after a three-year study involving 3,274 South African men aged 18-24 showed that circumcision reduced the risk of contracting HIV by up to 60 percent. So conclusive were the results that UNAIDS recently launched two similar studies in Uganda and Kenya, involving nearly 8,000 men, to establish the use of the procedure in preventing HIV infection. Agence France Presse has reported that Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia were seeking assistance to make circumcision more accessible to their male populations.

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