HARARE, Zimbabwe, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Male Zimbabwe Parliament members have declined a proposal asking them to be circumcised to set an example in the fight against AIDS, officials say.
Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe proposed the circumcision to male MPs after evidence found that men are 60 percent less likely to become infected with HIV if they are circumcised, the BBC reported Thursday.
Only one legislator, Edgar Mbwembwe, from Zanu, said he would undergo the procedure.
Other female MPs agreed with Khupe.
"Politicians, especially elected politicians, have a responsibility beyond the personal -- they would set a good example if they did so," said Jessie Majome.
Zimbabwe launched an initiative last year to circumcise 80 percent of the country's young men.
Minister of National Healing Moses Mzila Ndlovu told the BBC that some lawmakers find Khupe's suggestion "madness" and "bizarre." Ndlovu said he believes that circumcision and protection against AIDS is a matter of personal choice.
"I don't see many takers but I'm not stopping anyone," he said. "It has to be a circumcision of the mind rather than circumcision of the organ."
AIDS experts say that using condoms, being faithful to a single partner and abstinence are better measures than circumcision, the report said.