Knowledge, attitude and uptake of Safe Male Circumcision among undergraduate male students in Makerere University College of health sciences
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ABSTRACT Introduction and background HIV/AIDS is one of the major global public health problems affecting about 36.9 million people annually. Uganda has an HIV prevalence of 6 %. Approximately 35% of university students in Uganda including Makerere University are infected with HIV. Safe male circumcision (SMC) and other efforts such as promotion of condom use, treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, voluntary testing and counseling and use of antiretroviral treatment amongst others have been put in place to curtail the HIV epidemic but it remains a big problem. In Makerere University, SMC was launched by the Makerere University Joint AIDS Programme (MJAP) in 2012 with support from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to curb down HIV in the University and the community. However since this program was implemented, uptake of these services is very low. Knowledge deficits and poor attitudes regarding SMC are some of the attributes to low uptake of SMC amongst other factors. There has been no study carried out in Makerere University to assess the Knowledge, Attitudes and practices of male students on SMC. General objective The general objective of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and uptake of SMC among male students in Makerere University College of health science so as to improve adoption and acceptability of SMC as a method of reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS. Methodology A cross sectional study was conducted among a sample of 336 undergraduate male students in Makerere University College of health sciences. The college was divided into strata, where each school was stratum. Participants were randomly sampled in each stratum. Data was collected using self-administered questionnaires. The data was then processed using Epi Data, Microsoft excel and STATA. It has been presented in graphs, pie charts and percentages. Results A good level of knowledge, attitude and uptake of SMC was revealed among the respondents. All the respondents have heard about SMC and majority correctly defined it and majority said it was important. Majority, of the respondents,( 89.2% ) had a good attitude towards SMC and most of them would prefer to be circumcised from a health facility. There was poor uptake of SMC services at 62.8%. Conclusion There is poor uptake of SMC services at Makerere University College of health sciences despite the good knowledge and attitudes among the students. In addition, the uptake of SMC has not yet met the target included in the SMC policy of having 80% of males circumcised, therefore more efforts should be put up by the university management and ministry of health to improve SMC uptake and therefore meet this target.