Background WHO/Joint United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS) has recommended adult male circumcision (AMC) for the prevention of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men from communities where HIV is hyper endemic and AMC prevalence is low. The aim of this study was to provide evidences on knowledge and attitudes of non-circumcised men with regard to MC, and to determine the willingness to be circumcised among Rwandan men aged 15–59 years.
Methods This cross sectional study was part of a large survey conducted in Rwanda in January 2010 by the Ministry of Health, to assess knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding MC in the general population (KAP). The data were collected independent of religions and participants were recruited from all of the five provinces of Rwanda and 29 out of 30 districts were covered The data were collected using quantitative technique and a structured questionnaire written in Kinyarwanda was administered and completed by 1098 men.
Findings The study findings showed that the prevalence of circumcision is 16.5% (95% CI 14.3 to 18.7%) in the study population. This proportion is the highest in the City of Kigali (52.5%) and in the Western Province (25.9%). The district of Rusizi in the western Province has the highest rate of circumcised men in our study, compared to other districts (71%). Among 63.3% of circumcised men, the procedure was performed by a healthcare provider. An estimated 50.2% of uncircumcised men would consider being circumcised and 78.5% would support circumcision for their sons and uptake will steadily increase if services are provided. The main reason would be to prevent them to be infected with STIs (including HIV) and Hygiene. The major reasons preventing uncircumcised men to circumcise is being too old for that procedure, the fear of pain and not becoming sexually promiscuous.
Conclusion This study demonstrates that male circumcision prevalence in Rwanda remains low although MC is a known and acceptable practice among the study participants. The major barriers to MC acceptability can be removed by effective interventions like education and social mobilisation. Interventions should also target women as they can play a key role in the decision making process about circumcision within their couples and families.