A new report from the Women's HIV Prevention Tracking Project (WHiPT), a collaborative initiative of AVAC and the ATHENA Network, features an unprecedented collection of voices from Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda reflecting on what male circumcision for HIV prevention means for women. It highlights women's perspectives, advocacy priorities and recommendations on this new prevention strategy.
Making Medical Male Circumcision Work for Women is the first report from WHiPT, which was launched in 2009 to bring community perspectives, particularly women's voices, to the forefront of biomedical prevention research and the broader response to HIV.
The report highlights community-level support as well as concerns and misperceptions that can hinder effective implementation.
"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."
In total, nearly 500 women in HIV-affected communities completed a questionnaire, developed and administered by the women-led WHiPT teams in five countries. Almost 40 focus groups provided additional information about women's attitudes about medical male circumcision. In each country, research took place in different locales, selected to reflect a diversity of circumcision practices, including communities that practice traditional male circumcision and those that do not circumcise, as well as those practicing female genital mutilation.
The majority of teams conducted their research in settings where male circumcision for HIV prevention had not yet been introduced as part of a national HIV strategy. Therefore many reported perceptions and concerns can be integrated into emerging programs—making 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 experience need to be taken into account.
The report summarizes advocacy activities that WHiPT teams will undertake over the coming year to ensure that male circumcision implementation addresses women's concerns.
To download the report and/or a recording of the global report launch teleforum with the report authors, go to http://www.avac.org/WHiPT.
About WHiPT: The Women's HIV Prevention Tracking Project (WHiPT) is a collaborative initiative of AVAC and the ATHENA Network launched in 2009 to bring community perspectives, particularly women's voices, to the forefront of the HIV and AIDS response. The specific purpose of WHiPT is to advance and facilitate the monitoring of HIV prevention research, advocacy and implementation by women who are the most affected by the epidemic. The WHiPT Report was produced by teams led by the AIDS Legal Network, South Africa; the ATHENA Network; AVAC; Health Rights Action Group, Uganda; Mama's Club, Uganda; Namibia Women's Health Network, Namibia; Swaziland for Positive Living, Swaziland; and Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya, Kenya.
Cindra Feuer | EurekAlert!
23.03.2017 | Technische Universität München
How prenatal maternal infections may affect genetic factors in Autism spectrum disorder
22.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences