Accessibility links

Swaziland King Postpones World AIDS Day Events

The king of Swaziland has postponed national events to mark World AIDS Day, citing a conflict with a traditional royal ceremony.

Officials with King Mswati's government say they did not want the events to compete with the incwala ceremony, which they announced will begin Thursday.

The Swazi Observer news agency quotes a government health official, Nhlanhla Nhlabatsi as saying events to mark World AIDS Day will now be held at the beginning of February.

But a group of non-governmental organizations fighting AIDS is defying the king's order and will hold its scheduled dinner in Swaziland's capital, Mbabane.

The United Nations says up to 40 percent of adults in the tiny southern Africa kingdom are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

King Mswati has drawn criticism for his lavish lifestyle and multiple wives at a time of widespread suffering.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.