'It brought joy in my home as in the area of my wife.' How recently circumcised adult men ascribe value to and make sense of male circumcision

Glob Public Health. 2012;7(4):352-66. doi: 10.1080/17441692.2011.632638. Epub 2011 Nov 17.


The present study used a phenomenological approach to explore the everyday-life experiences of male circumcision (MC) and to learn how recently circumcised men ascribe value to and make sense of MC. Thirteen recently circumcised Zambian men were identified through the snowball technique and interviewed using a semi-structured interviewer's guide. Findings indicate that the post-operational experience of adult MC smoothly fits into the everyday-life experience of the men interviewed and is perceived and experienced as a broader social health issue, which largely transcends both the personal HIV risk of the individual male and the private sphere. The study provides three important lessons for MC programmes: (1) the broad social aspects of MC put forward by the interviewees suggest the potential for a popular intervention and, consequently, a large uptake of MC; (2) findings suggest that in addition to emphasising the HIV protective effect of MC, MC promotion should also highlight the social, sexual and romantic values perceived and experienced by the interviewees of this study; (3) the analysis reveals potentially harmful misconceptions about the health benefits of MC, demonstrating the importance of proper pre- and post-circumcision counselling as well as public health messages related to MC.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Circumcision, Male / psychology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Men's Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Public Health
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control
  • Young Adult
  • Zambia