Kenyan women reject 'sex cleanser'.
The cleansing job, held by hundreds of thousands of men across rural Africa, is seen as low class but essential to "purifying" women. Cleansers are paid in cows and crops, as well as cash. They can be found in some rural parts of Uganda, Tanzania and Congo. They are also a staple in Angola and across West Africa, specifically in Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Nigeria, according to African aid workers who have been trying to discuss the HIV risk that cleansers present.
The tradition dates back centuries and is rooted in a belief that spirits haunt a woman after her husband dies. She is also thought to be unholy and "disturbed" if she is unmarried and abstains from sex.
"It's a custom that must be stopped," said Janet Walsh, deputy director of Human Rights Watch, which published a report on it. "Condoms are never used; they say it has to be skin-to-skin to work." Women in Africa are six times as likely to contract HIV as men, largely because of rape and customs like cleansing, in which one man can infect hundreds of women. Nancy Oundda, a nurse with the African Medical Research Foundation, predicted that people's attitudes toward the practice will change "with education, and if they realise what this tradition is doing."
Source: GENDER-AIDS eForum 2003: firstname.lastname@example.org
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|Title Annotation:||NEWS CLIPPINGS|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2003|
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