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New report provides women's perspectives on medical male circumcision for HIV prevention
Date:12/13/2010

ted perceptions and concerns can be integrated into emerging programsmaking this report both timely and urgent.

The Kenyan WHiPT team surveyed women in settings where male circumcision was evaluated in a clinical trial and subsequently introduced. Reports from women reached by the Kenyan WHiPT team underscore women's fears that male circumcision may lead to changes in men's behaviors and perception of risk.

"The women reported their partners either adapting or continuing risky behavior after 'the cut'", says Carol Odada, from Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya.

The report documents women's concerns that medical male circumcision might lead to an increase in heightened stigma for women living with HIV. This would be a result of circumcised men's misperceptions that they could not be HIV positive and/or could not transmit the virus. Thus sex and or safer sex would be less negotiable than before circumcision, putting women at greater risk for gender-based violence and HIV.

The report also highlights perceptions of male circumcision for HIV prevention in the context of traditional practices. Specifically, it underscores the need for communications campaigns that directly address the distinctions between medical male circumcision, traditional circumcision and female genital mutilation.

"Some women report the concern that the promotion of circumcision for men would increase the promotion of female genital mutilation," says Allen Kuteesa from Health Rights Action Group in Uganda.

The myths and misunderstandings identified by WHiPT teams such as the perception that medical male circumcision is directly protective for women underscore the urgent need for adequate education campaigns directed at women. Further, for women to access and act on information related to medical male circumcision and HIV, the information needs to be specifically tailored to women, and the socio-cultural context and realities of women's lived experien
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Contact: Cindra Feuer
cindra@avac.org
917-685-4942
AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC)
Source:Eurekalert

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