[xml] need serious help with upgrading libxml2

I've been through the FAQ and other online sources,
but I can't resolve a problem with upgrading libxml2,
version 2.4.19 (comes with Redhat 7.3).  I am also a
novice when it comes to Linux in general, so please
bare with me...

I need to upgrade to at least 2.4.20 to install Perl
module XML::LibXML and LibXSLT.  Attempts to remove
the current version have failed.  Thus, my first
question is:  how do I completely remove libxml2

I compiled version 2.5.1 (from source, not RPM) to a
new location and then tried messing around with
$XMLPREFIX (env var used when building XML::LibXML),
pointing this to the more recent version of libxml2. 
BUT, I know this isn't working because xml2-config
--version dumps 2.4.19.
At this point I'm thinking it would have been faster
for me to just install Redhat 8, which comes with
libxml2 v.2.4.20!

thanks in advance for any help...

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