XVIII International AIDS Conference

Abstract

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A qualitative study to assess the acceptability, perceptions and knowledge of the benefits of male circumcision to reduce the risk of HIV infection among men, women and health providers in the Dominican Republic

M. Brito1, R. Bailey2

1University of Illinois, Section of Infectious Diseases and School of Public Health, Chicago, United States, 2University of Illinois, School of Public Health, Chicago, United States

Background: Male circumcision (MC) reduces the risk of acquiring HIV, herpes simplex type 2 and human papilloma virus in men, as well as, chlamydia, trichomonas and bacterial vaginosis in female partners. The objective of this study was to characterize the knowledge and acceptability of MC in health providers, men and women of the province.
Methods: The study was conducted in five municipalities of the Altagracia Province. 13 focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted , 6 with women and 7 with men, each consisting of 6-10 participants (mean=7.9, SD=1.3). Groups were divided into “younger” (18-25 years) and “older” (26-50 years). Half of the FGD were conducted in rural settings. One FGD was conducted with six physicians working in rural clinics in the province.
Results: The most common reasons reported for getting a MC were to correct problems in retracting the foreskin and to improve hygiene. Half the participants viewed lack of penile hygiene as harmful to health and a source of “infections.” About half of the men believed that circumcision increases sexual pleasure.
Nearly all women favored a circumcised man, citing hygiene and esthetics as the main reasons for their preference. The majority of women thought that circumcised men experience more pleasure during sex.
The lack of awareness about the benefits of MC to reduce the risk of HIV infection was almost universal. About half the participants believed that men would be willing to be circumcised. There was universal agreement among providers that MC improves hygiene and decreases the risk of STI. All were willing to be trained to provide MC services.
Conclusions: Men, women and providers in the DR may be accepting of MC. Education about the benefits of the procedure are needed in the community. Introducing MC in the DR may help decrease the incidence of HIV and other STI and their complications.


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