Harare: More than 40,000 Zimbabwean men have been circumcised so far since the programme began in 2010, in a bid to reduce the risk of HIV, the country`s official news agency New Ziana reported.
Officials from the ministry of health and child welfare attributed the high statistics to widespread health awareness campaigns carried out in the southern African country.
Zimbabwe has set a goal of circumcising 1.2 million men by 2015.
Circumcision reduces the risk of HIV in men by approximately 60 percent, Xinhua reported, citing worldwide medical reports.
Sinokuthemba Xaba, Zimbabwe`s national male circumcision coordinator, told the New Ziana news agency: "About 11,000 men were circumcised by December 2010 but over 20,000 have been circumcised this year alone."
He said preparations were under way for the launch of a neonatal circumcision programme, where the medical procedure will be performed on male babies right after they are born.
"Neonatal circumcision has not yet been introduced, but preparations are under way. The initial pilot will not be prioritised in the short term due to limited resources but will have long-term plan from 2015 and beyond," he
He said the neonatal male circumcision would also be done free of cost.
He urged the people -- men as well as women -- to use condoms meant for both sexes, and remain faithful to their partners to avoid HIV.