This small study carried out in Mysore found that 81% of mothers polled were agreeable to having their male children circumcised.
There is currently little information on the acceptability of male circumcision in India, a country where male circumcision is not a tradition in a majority of the population.
This study ‘Acceptability of male circumcision among mothers with male children in Mysore, India’, published in the journal Aids (May 11, 2008, Vol 22(8): pg 983-988 by Madhivanan, Purnima; Krupp, Karl; Chandrasekaran, Varalakshmi; Karat, Samuel C; Reingold, Arthur L; Klausner, Jeffrey D) is an attempt to investigate how acceptable circumcision is among Indian mothers with male children.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted among a convenience sample of 795 women attending a reproductive health clinic in Mysore, India, between January and April 2007.
Of the 1012 invited eligible participants, 795 women agreed to participate. A majority of the women were Hindus (78%), a community that does not traditionally circumcise male children. Eighteen per cent of the respondents were Muslims, and 4% were Christians. About 26% of respondents had no schooling, 29% had seven years of schooling, 42% had 8-12 years, and 3% had more than 12 years.
After the women were informed about the risks and benefits of male circumcision, a majority of them with uncircumcised children (81%) said they would definitely circumcise their children if the procedure was offered in a safe hospital setting, free of charge, and a smaller number (7%) said they would probably consider the procedure. Only seven women (1%) said that they would definitely/probably not consider male circumcision, and 63 (9%) were unsure.
The study concludes that since male circumcision has been found to decrease risk of HIV infection among men, it is important to determine its acceptability as a potential HIV prevention strategy in India. The study found that male circumcision was highly acceptable among a broad range of mothers with male children in Mysore. However, further studies of acceptability among fathers and other populations are warranted.
(Also see ‘Male circumcision: a cut above’)
InfoChange News & Features, May 2008