September 23, 2011
Male circumcision is unlikely to be a workable HIV prevention strategy among London MSM, the current study suggests. The team undertook the research to explore attitudes about circumcision among MSM in London and to assess the feasibility of conducting research on circumcision and HIV prevention among these men.
In May and June 2008, a convenience sample of MSM visiting gyms in central London completed a confidential, self-administered questionnaire. The information collected included demographic characteristics, self-reported HIV status, sexual behavior, circumcision status, attitudes about circumcision, and willingness to take part in research on circumcision and HIV prevention.
Among the 653 participants, 29 percent reported they were circumcised. HIV prevalence among the MSM was 23.3 percent and did not differ significantly between circumcised (18.6 percent) and uncircumcised (25.2 percent) men (adjusted odds ratio=0.79; 95 percent confidence interval: 0.50-1.26). The proportion of participants reporting unprotected anal intercourse in the past three months was similar in the circumcised (38.8 percent) and uncircumcised (36.7 percent) groups (AOR=1.06; 95 percent CI: 0.72-1.55). The uncircumcised MSM were less likely to think there were benefits to being circumcised compared to the circumcised men (31.2 percent vs. 65.4 percent, P<0.001). Just 10.3 percent of the uncircumcised men indicated a willingness to take part in research on circumcision as a strategy to prevent HIV transmission.
"Most uncircumcised MSM in this London survey were unwilling to participate in research on circumcision and HIV prevention," the authors concluded. "Only a minority of uncircumcised men thought that there were benefits of circumcision. It is unlikely that circumcision would be a feasible strategy for HIV prevention among MSM in London."