Consent Challenges and Psychosocial Distress in the Scale-up of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Among Adolescents in Western Kenya

Consent Challenges and Psychosocial Distress in the Scale-up of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Among Adolescents in Western Kenya
Original Paper
Winnie K. Luseno, Samuel H. Field, Bonita J. Iritani, Stuart Rennie, Adam Gilbertson, Fredrick S. Odongo, Daniel Kwaro, Barrack Ongili, Denise D. Hallfors
AIDS and Behavior, 2 August 2019; pp 1-11
Abstract
In priority sub-Saharan African countries, on the ground observations suggest that the success of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) programs should not be based solely on numbers of males circumcised. We identify gaps in the consent process and poor psychosocial outcomes among a key target group: male adolescents. We assessed compliance with consent and assent requirements for VMMC in western Kenya among males aged 15–19 (N = 1939). We also examined differences in quality of life, depression, and anticipated HIV stigma between uncircumcised and circumcised adolescents. A substantial proportion reported receiving VMMC services as minors without parent/guardian consent. In addition, uncircumcised males were significantly more likely than their circumcised peers to have poor quality of life and symptoms of depression. Careful monitoring of male adolescents’ well-being is needed in large-scale VMMC programs. There is also urgent need for research to identify effective strategies to address gaps in the delivery of VMMC services.

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