Making the case for circumcision as a public health strategy: Opening the dialogue

José G. Castro, Deborah Lynne Jones, Maria Lopez, Isabel Barradas, Stephen M. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Hispanics in the United States have lower rates of male circumcision and higher rates of HIV. Although MC has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of acquisition of several sexual transmitted diseases such as HIV, human papilloma virus infection, and herpes simplex virus type 2, MC is only medically reimbursable by insurance for adults or children following recurrent infection, injury, or malformation of the penis. We conducted two studies of attitudes regarding MC among health care providers to Hispanic clients at Miami, Florida STD and Prenatal Clinics. This study presents qualitative data drawn from intensive interviews with 21 providers, including a mohel. Qualitative data was analyzed for dominant themes and collapsed into overarching themes. Thirteen themes emerged; acceptability, appearance, circumcision and children, circumcision and HIV, cost, cultural differences, health benefits, knowledge and personal experiences, pain and injury to the penis, perceived HIV risk, religion, sexual performance, and sexual pleasure. Except for the mohel, Hispanic male providers related MC acceptability to American Pediatric Association guidelines, personal circumcision status, and were skeptical regarding health benefits for sexually transmitted disease (STD)/HIV risk reduction. Female providers focused on the financial burden to parents, lack of information, and low acceptability among Hispanic men. This study illustrates the differing attitudes on circumcision held by providers, and suggests that gender, culture, cost, and providers themselves may limit MC acceptability among Hispanic clients. Results suggest that promotion of MC as an HIV risk reduction strategy must begin with the support of medical practitioners to promote the endorsement of MC as a prevention strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-372
Number of pages6
JournalAIDS patient care and STDs
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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