The role of women in promoting voluntary medical male circumcision uptake: Literature review


Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is a global strategy for reducing female-to-male sexual transmission of HIV. Women whose partners are circumcised benefit from a reduced risk of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases; making their role in VMMC critical. The objective of our study was to identify and synthesize existing evidence related to women’s role in promoting VMMC from a regional perspective. The review and selection process were guided by the Problem; Intervention; Comparison and Outcome (PICO) model, which facilitated the exclusion of irrelevant studies. The search strategy search terms for the PICO components with synonyms, related terms and specialist terms were harvested from the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)Ac and EmbaseAc. The inclusion criteria were published studies in English and relevant to women’s role in VMMC for the prevention of HIV between 2007 and 2020. Four key categories emerged from the literature as follows: role of women, VMMC uptake, barriers and facilitators of VMMC. The majority of the studies concur on the importance of involving women in VMMC uptake as they have the power to negotiate with their male partners through communication and can persuade men to be circumcised, making it a joint decision. The benefits of VMMC in improving sexual pleasure and attractiveness of the penis seemed to positively convince women to influence and educate men to improve the uptake of VMMC. Women are motivated to convince men to undergo male circumcision (MC) because of the benefits associated with them such as reduction of HIV transmission and cervical cancer. There are, however, limited studies focusing on women’s involvement in VMMC; hence, more research to explore this area is recommended. CONTRIBUTION: This review revealed the important role played by women in influencing men to undergo MC but highlight the need for more studies on women’s involvement in VMMC.


Danda G, Mavundla T, Mudokwenyu-Rawdon C




  • Population(s)
    • Women
    • General HIV- population
  • Prevention, Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Prevention
  • Prevention
    • Biomedical interventions


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