Original Research

Knowledge and perceptions of male immigrants in Leeds (UK) towards male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy

Catherine Atuhaire, Kabanda Taseera, Chris Spoor, Rosaline Y. Cumber, Samuel N. Cumber
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine | Vol 20, No 1 | a823 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhivmed.v20i1.823 | © 2019 Catherine Atuhaire, Kabanda Taseera, Chris Spoor, Rosaline Y. Cumber, Samuel N. Cumber | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 December 2017 | Published: 31 October 2019

About the author(s)

Catherine Atuhaire, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, Uganda
Kabanda Taseera, Department of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Mbarara, Uganda
Chris Spoor, Faculty of Health Science, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, United Kingdom
Rosaline Y. Cumber, Faculty of Political Science, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Samuel N. Cumber, Section for Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Department of Public Health, Institute of Medicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden; and, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The World Health Organization has accepted and recommended medical male circumcision (MMC) as an HIV prevention strategy. Despite the advantages of MMC, the rate of uptake of this practice among immigrants and the general population in the United Kingdom (UK) is low, yet the procedure is provided in public and private health facilities. The role of negative perception and its contribution to low circumcision rates is unknown.

Objectives: Since immigrants are a key group that is vulnerable to HIV in the UK, this study aimed at understanding their knowledge and perceptions with regard to MMC.

Methods: We enrolled 10 participants who were purposively selected using snowball recruitment methods. Data were collected during individual in-depth interviews using semi-structured interview guides. Responses were audio recorded, transcribed and analyzed using thematic analysis. Appropriate themes were generated from the data collected.

Results: We found that the majority looked at male circumcision (MC) as a practice to fulfill their cultural and religious obligations rather than as an HIV protection method. Few participants showed belief and certainty that MC or MMC was effective in HIV prevention hence limited knowledge. They also expressed perceived danger. This included fear of pain, complications from the procedure and possible infections when carried out through traditional means. These dangers discouraged study participants from accessing MMC.

Conclusion: Male circumcision is mainly practiced to fulfill cultural and religious norms, but is not seen as a credible HIV prevention strategy.


Keywords

male circumcision; knowledge; perceptions; HIV prevention

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