Swaziland has the highest prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the world at 26% of the adult population. Medical male circumcision (MMC) has been shown to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV from heterosexual sex by up to 60% and the Government of Swaziland has been promoting adult male circumcision. Infant circumcision commenced in 2013 so it is important to understand the knowledge and views of women as potential mothers, around infant circumcision for medical purposes to inform the development of the service.
This study interviewed 14 women of reproductive age attending the outpatient department of Good Shepherd Mission Hospital (GSMH), a rural district hospital, on their knowledge of and attitudes to early infant male circumcision (EIMC). Participants were highly knowledgeable about the health benefits of medical circumcision, although knowledge of the comparative risks and benefits of EIMC to adult circumcision was poor. All participants would have a son circumcised; the preferred age varied from early infancy to adolescence. Complications and pain were the main barriers whilst religious and cultural reasons were mentioned both for and against circumcision. A variety of family members are important in the decision to circumcise a young boy. Acceptability of medical circumcision was high in this study, but concerns about safety, pain, autonomy and cultural factors reduce the acceptability of infant circumcision more specifically. It will be important to provide accurate, culturally sensitive information about infant circumcision to mothers, fathers and grandparents using existing hospital and community services provided at GSMH and throughout Swaziland. Where possible services for MMC should be available to males of all ages so that families and young men may choose the most favourable age for circumcision.
This is a COMDIS briefing on this research
This research is supported by the Department for International Development’s COMDIS–HSD Programme which is led by the University of Leeds
Jarretta, P.; Kliner, M.; Walley, J. Early infant male circumcision for human immunodeficiency virus prevention: knowledge and attitudes of women attending a rural hospital in Swaziland, Southern Africa. SAHARA-J: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS (2014) 11 (1) 61-66. [DOI: 10.1080/17290376.2014.929530]
Early infant male circumcision for HIV prevention: knowledge and attitudes of women attending a rural hospital in Swaziland, Southern Africa