Uptake of safe male circumcision for HIV prevention among males 15-49 years in Bar-dege Sub County, Gulu District.
Background to the study: SMC is the surgical removal of all or part of the foreskin from the penis. Studies have shown that it reduces the risk of female to male transmission of HIV by up to 60%. Despite of the efforts Uganda has put in HIV prevention, the country is still categorized as a high risk country due to high HIV prevalence and low MC coverage. Objective of the study: The objective of this study was to determine the factors associated with uptake of SMC for HIV prevention among males aged 15- 49 years in Bar-dege Sub-county. Methodology: A cross sectional study involving both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods was carried out in Bar-dege sub-county. An interviewer administered questionnaire and Key Informant interviews were used to collect data from 300 respondents and 3KIs respectively. Results: The study established that 32% of males are circumcised. SMC was found to be highly associated with education level (p=0.028), age (p= 0.004), religion (p=0.000) and knowledge about its protective effect in HIV prevention (p=0.001). Hindrance to SMC included misconceptions, lack of MC kits, inadequate number of trained health staff. Conclusion and recommendations: The proportion of males circumcised in Bar-dege sub-county is still way below the 80% MC coverage required for herd immunity to be attained. In order to increase the uptake of SMC, health facility barriers like staff training, logistical supplies and accreditation of HFs needs to be addressed; there is need to involve the spouses of SMC clients, political, religious and cultural leaders and the VHTs in mobilization for SMC; and there is need for thorough sensitization of the community to dispel misconceptions about SMC.