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Open Access Research article

Adult male circumcision as an intervention against HIV: An operational study of uptake in a South African community (ANRS 12126)

Pascale Lissouba1, Dirk Taljaard2, Dino Rech2, Veerle Dermaux-Msimang3, Camille Legeai1, David Lewis34, Beverley Singh3, Adrian Puren34 and Bertran Auvert156*

Author Affiliations

1 CESP INSERM-UVSQ UMRS 1018, Villejuif, France

2 Progressus, Johannesburg, South Africa

3 National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) of the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS), Johannesburg, South Africa

4 University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

5 Hôpital Ambroise Paré, Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Boulogne, France

6 Université Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Versailles, France

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2011, 11:253  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-11-253

Published: 26 September 2011



To evaluate the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about adult male circumcision (AMC), assess the association of AMC with HIV incidence and prevalence, and estimate AMC uptake in a Southern African community.


A cross-sectional biomedical survey (ANRS-12126) conducted in 2007-2008 among a random sample of 1198 men aged 15 to 49 from Orange Farm (South Africa). Face-to-face interviews were conducted by structured questionnaire. Recent HIV infections were evaluated using the BED incidence assay. Circumcision status was self-reported and clinically assessed. Adjusted HIV incidence rate ratios (aIRR) and prevalence ratios (aPR) were calculated using Poisson regression.


The response rate was 73.9%. Most respondents agreed that circumcised men could become HIV infected and needed to use condoms, although 19.3% (95%CI: 17.1% to 21.6%) asserted that AMC protected fully against HIV. Among self-reported circumcised men, 44.9% (95%CI: 39.6% to 50.3%) had intact foreskins. Men without foreskins had lower HIV incidence and prevalence than men with foreskins (aIRR = 0.35; 95%CI: 0.14 to 0.88; aPR = 0.45, 95%CI: 0.26 to 0.79). No significant difference was found between self-reported circumcised men with foreskins and other uncircumcised men. Intention to undergo AMC was associated with ethnic group and partner and family support of AMC. Uptake of AMC was 58.8% (95%CI: 55.4% to 62.0%).


AMC uptake in this community is high but communication and counseling should emphasize what clinical AMC is and its effect on HIV acquisition. These findings suggest that AMC roll-out is promising but requires careful implementation strategies to be successful against the African HIV epidemic.

male circumcision; foreskin; uptake; acceptability; HIV-AIDS