Factors associated with the take-up of voluntary medical male circumcision amongst learners in rural KwaZulu-Natal
Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is an integral part of South Africa’s HIV prevention programme. School-going males, in particular, are considered a cost-effective target population. However, ambitious policy targets have not been achieved due to the plateau in demand for VMMC. This study documents the factors influencing demand for VMMC amongst school-going males. Data were collected from 750 learners (251 circumcised and 499 uncircumcised) from 42 secondary schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. There was a positive association between the perceived benefit of VMMC and the likelihood of undergoing circumcision (AOR: 1.41, p = 0.01). There was a negative association between self-efficacy to use condoms and likelihood of undergoing VMMC (AOR: 0.75, p < 0.01). Learners who perceived VMMC as having a number of health benefits, including reducting of the chances of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), increasing penile hygiene and the belief that VMMC allows them to use condoms less frequently, were more likely to undergo VMMC. Of concern, learners who were confident in their ability to access condoms and t use a condom with their partner were less likely to undergo VMMC.
Keywords: adolescent friendly health services, circumcision for HIV prevention, demand for circumcision, HIV/AIDS, HIV prevention, South Africa