Knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of males with regard to medical male circumcision
Khumalo, Innocentia Duduzile
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Introduction Male circumcision refers to the surgical removal of all or parts of the prepuce of the penis. This procedure is undertaken for religious, cultural, social, hygiene or medical reasons (Maibvise and Mavundla 2013: 139). The number of people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) rose from approximately 8 million in the year 1990 to 33 million infections now. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region in the world most affected by HIV/AIDS with 22.4 million people living with the virus in the year ending 2008 (Naidoo et al. 2012: 2). The use of male and female condoms remains a challenge despite decades of promotion. There is evidence that medical male circumcision (MMC) is effective in preventing HIV sexual transmission. Medical male circumcision is a drive that was initiated by the National Department of Health as a strategy to curb HIV infection in South Africa in 2010. Aim of the study The purpose of the study was to investigate and describe knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of males with regard to medical male circumcision. Methodology A quantitative descriptive survey research method was used to describe the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of males attending the community health care centers (CHCs) in eThekwini district regarding medical male circumcision. Results Displayed posters motivated 71.4% (n = 329) to have circumcisions. While 65.1% (n = 300) respondents had knowledge about circumcision and HIV, 27.8% (n = 280) perceived that circumcision would interfere with their sexual function and reproduction. A total of 38.8% (n = 179) of respondents indicated that it is good for children to be circumcised. There is a significant positive correlation between age and knowledge (r = 0.135, p = .004). Higher age is correlated with more knowledge. Conclusion This study found that knowledge plays a major role in changing attitudes and perceptions. The more knowledgeable an individual is, the more the chance is of them having a positive attitude towards MMC which could also influence a positive perception of MMC. In order to strengthen male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy, it is imperative to provide the population that reflected low knowledge and negative attitude with information, education and counselling services. This may help them to change their attitudes and acquire a positive perception of MMC.