Objective: To describe the attitudes of Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) clinic attendees towards male circumcision.
Design and Methods: A convenience sample of attendees at the main STI clinic in Kingston was interviewed using a structured questionnaire in June 2008.
Results: One-hundred men and 98 women were interviewed. Over 90% of the men were not circumcised. Although 60% of men and 67% of women reported that they had heard of circumcision, the research nurse assessed that 28% of men and 40% of women actually understood what circumcision was. When asked about the benefits of circumcision, 32% of men and 41.8% of women said that circumcision makes it easier to clean the penis while 13% of men and 20.4% of women said that circumcision lessens the likelihood of STI. Twenty-two per cent of men and 13.3% of women said that the foreskin offers protection while 18% of men and 10.2% of women said that the penis looks more attractive when uncircumcised. When informed that research showed that circumcision reduced the risk of HIV, 35% of men said that they were willing to be circumcised and 67.3% of women said that they would encourage their spouse to be circumcised (p < 0.001) while 54% of men and 72.4% of women said that they would circumcise their sons (p = 0.057).
Conclusion: Knowledge of circumcision and its benefits were limited among STI clinic attendees. Significantly more women than men were in favour of circumcision when informed that it reduced the risk of HIV infection.