Influence of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Communication Strategies on Risk Perception among Secondary School Students in Kenya
Wagunda, Charles O.
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This paper analyses the influence of communication strategies on risk perception of circumcised male secondary school students in Kenya. Male circumcision is a surgical removal of the foreskin and can be done as a traditional culture or medical influence. In this regard, we are talking about the medically influenced circumcision, hence, its name being Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC). Research has shown that the risk of a medically circumcised male contracting Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) during vaginal sex is reduced by up to 60%, compared to that of an uncircumcised man. However, there is increasing concern that communication of VMMC related messages continues to be done in a disorganized manner in secondary schools and thus circumcised boys may still embark on risky sexual choices despite information that VMMC only offers partial protection from HIV infection. The literature reviewed reveals that there is limited research that has assessed the influence of VMMC communication strategies on risky sexual choices. The study adopted a descriptive survey and was conducted in schools in Migori County in Kenya. It involved 306 male student participants. Data was generated through questionnaires and informant interviews. Quantitative data was presented percentages while qualitative data was analyzed thematically. Findings indicated that whereas circumcised male secondary school students recalled key VMMC messages obtained through informal interpersonal communication, negotiated decoding of VMMC messages still existed. Based on the findings, it is recommended that future VMMC communication efforts use trained peer educators who would accurately capture positive narratives that promote VMMC and at the same time emphasize that there is no cure for HIV/AIDS and that every person could become infected including medically circumcised males. Keywords: Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision, Communication strategy, Risk Compensation