MALE CIRCUMCISION AND SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS IN BOTSWANA
a1 Department of Population Studies, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana
This study set out to investigate the influence of male circumcision and other factors on sexually transmitted infections in Botswana. A syndromic approach, which diagnoses a sexually transmitted infection based on the presence of urethral discharge or genital ulcers rather than on laboratory tests, was used. The data were from the 2001 Botswana AIDS Impact Survey where a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of men and women aged 10–64 years were interviewed in both urban and rural areas. The sample selected for this study consisted of 216,480 men aged 15–64 years who had ever had sexual intercourse. The logistic regression technique was executed to examine the association between male circumcision and self-reported urethral discharge or genital ulcers, while controlling for all other independent variables in the analysis. The main finding of this study was that among men who are circumcised, the odds for self-reported urethral discharge or genital ulcers are significantly lower than for those men who are not circumcised in both urban and rural Botswana. The analysis also showed that the odds in favour of self-reported urethral discharge or genital ulcers, for men who drink alcohol, are twice as large as those for men who do not drink alcohol, controlling for all other independent variables in the analysis. Religion and ethnicity also came through as factors exerting a protective influence against self-reported symptoms of sexually transmitted infections. The conclusion is that while male circumcision appears to be significantly associated with the risk for self-reported urethral discharge or genital ulcers, it is man’s behaviour, irrespective of ethnicity or religious dictates, that continues to play a vital role in protection against self-reported symptoms of sexually transmitted infections in Botswana.