Popular perceptions of circumcision among Colombian men who have sex with men.

Published: August 23, 2012

Abstract

Male circumcision has received increased attention for its potential to reduce sexual transmission of HIV. Research on the acceptability of circumcision as a means of HIV prevention among men who have sex with men is limited. Men who have sex with men in Bogotá, Colombia, either participated in a focus group in which they shared information regarding their perceptions of circumcision or completed a survey that assessed circumcision experiences, attitudes, beliefs and willingness. Few participants reported they were circumcised, yet most participants reported knowing something about the procedure. Overall, attitudes towards circumcision were mixed: although circumcision was viewed as safe, it was also viewed as unnatural and cruel to babies. Beliefs that circumcision could improve sexual functioning and protect against STIs and HIV were not widely endorsed by survey participants, although focus-group participants discussed the potential impacts of circumcision on the availability of sexual partners and sexual performance. Some focus-group participants and many survey participants reported a hypothetical willingness to get circumcised if strong evidence of its effectiveness could be provided, barriers removed and recovery time minimised.

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