Knowledge, attitudes and practices of male circumcision for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevention among voluntary counselling and testing clients in a centre in northern Namibia

Terthu K Ngodji, Jessica Rebert, Ehimario U Igumbor, Vistolina Nuuyoma


Background: There is compelling evidence that male circumcision (MC) is associated with reduced risk of contracting HIV. For this reason, MC is recommended for countries like Namibia where HIV prevalence is high and MC rates are low. Following this recommendation, a national MC campaign was considered to introduce MC as an additional HIV prevention strategy with the intention of rolling it out in communities where MC is not traditionally practised and where heterosexually transmitted HIV infection rates are high. Little is known about the acceptability of MC in traditionally non-circumcising communities in Northern Namibia.
Objective: This study assessed the knowledge, attitudes and practices of MC among men presenting for voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) in a traditionally non-circumcising ethnic group in the northern Namibia.
Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study design was used. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect data from 331 Oshiwambo-speaking males aged 18 years and older, presenting for VCT services. Data was analysed using Epi-Info 2008, Version 3.5.1.
Results: The self-reported prevalence of MC in the study sample was 15.4%, with 38% of those reporting being circumcised during their childhood (1-13 years) and 44% being circumcised for health-related reasons. Most respondents (n = 241, 74.4%) had heard that MC reduces the men’s risk of HIV infection. Up to 53.1% of the respondents had good knowledge regarding MC; moreover, the majority of the respondents (n = 194, 66.6%) reported that it is easier for uncircumcised men to acquire HIV infection. It was found that men aged 25 to 34 years were more willing to be circumcised than the other age groups.
Conclusions: A high level of knowledge of MC was revealed. Accordingly, the idea of MC is likely to be accepted, especially if it is implemented to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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