The acceptability of male circumcision to reduce HIV infections in Nyanza Province, Kenya

AIDS Care. 2002 Feb;14(1):27-40. doi: 10.1080/09540120220097919.


Compelling epidemiological evidence showing a significant association between lack of male circumcision and HIV infection has prompted calls for consideration of male circumcision interventions as a strategy for reducing HIV prevalence in highly affected areas where circumcision is little practiced and transmission is predominantly heterosexual. Little is known about whether male circumcision interventions would be acceptable or feasible in traditionally non-circumcisng areas of Africa. This study assesses the acceptability of male circumcision in the Luo, a large, traditionally non-circumcising ethnic group in western Kenya. Separate focused group discussions with adult Luo men and women and semi-structured interviews with clinicians were conducted in Nyanza Province, Kenya. The primary barriers to acceptance of male circumcision were cultural identification, fear of pain and excessive bleeding and cost. The main facilitators were association of male circumcision with better hygiene and reduced risk of infection. Both men and women were eager for promotion of genital hygiene and male circumcision, and they desired availability of circumcision clinical services in the Province's health facilities. Clinicians lacked the knowledge and resources to offer safe circumcision counselling and services. If results from this study are valid for other areas of sub-Saharan Africa, acceptability of male circumcision as a means to reduce STDs and HIV is higher than previously suspected. Further studies are needed in other regions to assess the feasibility of introducing acceptable male circumcision information and services to reduce HIV transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Circumcision, Male / ethnology
  • Circumcision, Male / psychology*
  • Culture
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Religion
  • Rural Health