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Study Asks Women for Thoughts on Circumcision

Study Asks Women for Thoughts on Circumcision

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A new study asked African women what they think about efforts to ramp up male circumcision to stop the spread of HIV in countries hit hard by the epidemic.

The Women's HIV Prevention Tracking Project survey of women from Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Uganda about their thoughts on male circumcision shows general support as well as concerns and misperceptions that can hinder effective implementation, according to Medical News Today. Many feared that adult male circumcision would change their partners' behaviors or give them a false sense of security.

"Women are excited for medical male circumcision because they're desperate for new prevention options, but they lack detailed factual knowledge of its benefits and risks," says Cebile Dlamini of Swaziland for Positive Living. "For example, the fact that it only provides partial protection can be overlooked and some women and men believe once a man is circumcised, he is by definition HIV-negative."

The report also shows fear that women would be stigmatized for having HIV, putting them more at risk for sexual assault. Some women also said there might be a general impetus to subject more women to female genital mutilation.

About 500 women completed the questionnaire, with 40 focus groups participating in more discussions about medical male circumcision.

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