Acceptability of Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention in PNG Study
A joint JCU, PAU, DWA study 2010–2012: NHMRC Project Grant 601003
From 2010-2012 this study will investigate the acceptability and feasibility of male circumcision as a public health intervention to reduce HIV in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This is a joint study between James Cook University, Pacific Adventist University and Divine Word University and is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council. The study will be undertaken in four sites across PNG. Sites are planned in Port Moresby; Madang Province; Enga Province; and Oro Province.
The study aims to:
1. Describe male circumcision and other genital cutting at the study sites
2. Understand how social, cultural and religious beliefs and practices of male circumcision influence the acceptability of male circumcision as a part of HIV prevention
3. Assess the capacity of health providers to deliver male circumcision services at the study sites
Both men and women will volunteer to participate in the study. Health professionals will collect information using several research techniques. This will include a questionnaire for 200 men and 100 women at each site to assess people’s experience of, and ideas about, male circumcision; medical examination of 200 men at each site to assess the types of circumcision they may have; 20 in-depth interviews at each site to explore more details about male circumcision with individuals and 6 focus groups at each site to explore more details about male circumcision with groups. Ethics Committees from PNG National AIDS Council, JCU, PAU and DWU have approved the study.
In 2009 it was estimated 98 000 people (2.5% of the PNG population), were living with HIV in PNG. Some estimates say up to 500 000 people may be living with HIV/AIDS by 2025. This means all prevention options need to be considered.
Studies in Africa have shown a 60% reduction in HIV transmission in men who are circumcised compared with men who are not circumcised. Removing the foreskin removes HIV target cells in the inner surface of the foreskin, giving a reason why men who are circumcised have reduced chance of contracting HIV.
The World Health Organisation now recommends male circumcision as a part of international HIV prevention measures. Very few circumcisions are performed in hospitals and clinics in PNG but there are various forms of foreskin cutting that occur across PNG. Evidence from this study will help inform HIV prevention programs in PNG and across the region.
What will the results tell us?
Male circumcision could be an important public health measure to save lives in PNG and across the region. Describing and categorising male circumcision and assessing the acceptability of male circumcision by both men and women will help inform policy and HIV prevention measures. Assessing whether health service providers at each site could deliver male circumcision services will help us understand if it is possible to include male circumcision in HIV prevention strategies in PNG.
Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention in PNG Study
Dr David MacLaren
James Cook University
+61 (7) 4042 1658
Pacific Adventist University
+675 328 0342
Divine Word University
+ (675) 424 1887
James Cook University
+61 (0)7 4042 1878