Increasing early infant male circumcision uptake in Zambia: like father like son.

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Weiss, Stephen M.
Rodriguez, Violeta J.
Cook, Ryan R.
Bowa, Kasonde
Zulu, Robert
Mweemba, Oliver
Kamboyi, Royd
Castro, Jose
Orrego, Victoria
Maria, Dunleavy
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The University of Zambia
Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) is an effective strategy for HIV prevention in areas with high prevalence of, and risk for, HIV. More than 361,000 male neonates are born each year in Zambia, many of whom could be eligible for Early-Infant Medical Circumcision (EIMC). Building on successful implementation strategies utilized in our Spear & Shield program, this pilot study, “Like Father, Like Son” (LFLS), evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of offering combined EIMC and VMMC services and couple-level behavioral interventions. A total of N = 702 pregnant women and their male partners (n = 351 couples) were recruited and enrolled. Couples were assessed twice pre-birth, 2 weeks post birth, and 6 months post birth. Expectant mothers were an average of 15.05 weeks pregnant (SD = 8.83). Thirty-nine pregnancies did not result in a live birth (11%), 14 couples withdrew from the study or were lost to follow-up prior to delivery (4%), and 148 babies were born female (42%), leaving 150 couples with a male infant in the analytic sample (43%). The LFLS study achieved significantly higher EIMC rates (35%) in comparison with previously observed EIMC study rates in Zambia (11%), and significantly higher than hypothetical comparison rates up to 30%. Relative to baseline rates, odds of VMMC among couples’ older sons increased by 31% at post-intervention and by 90% at two-weeks following birth. Overall, this pilot study found the LFLS intervention to be feasible, acceptable, and effective in doubling the rate of EIMC in comparison with a previous longitudinal study in Zambia. Future research should consider a family-centric approach to promotion of male circumcision for infants and adolescents. LFLS may be effective in promoting father-son “bonding” by MC status; a bond that may be a bridge to increase both EIMC and VMMC uptake in newborns and couples’ older sons and is a novel leverage point for promotion of this HIV prevention strategy.
Medical Male Circumcision and HIV prevention , HIV and AIDS--Prevention
Weiss SM, Rodriguez VJ, Cook RR, Bowa K, Zulu R, Mweemba O, et al. (2023) Increasing early infant male circumcision uptake in Zambia: Like father like son. PLoS ONE 18(8): e0289819.