Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40507. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040507. Epub 2012 Jul 6.

Rapid increase in prevalence of male circumcision in rural Tanzania in the absence of a promotional campaign.

Author information

  • 1London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom.



To estimate the prevalence of circumcision among young men in rural Mwanza, North-Western Tanzania, and document trends in circumcision prevalence over time. To investigate associations of circumcision with socio-demographic characteristics, reported sexual behaviours and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


A cross-sectional survey in communities which had previously participated in a cluster-randomized trial of an adolescent sexual health intervention that did not include male circumcision in 20 rural communities.


In 2007/08, 7300 young men (age 16-23 years) were interviewed and examined by a clinician. The prevalence of circumcision by age was compared with data collected during the trial in 1998-2002. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the association of circumcision with socio-demographic characteristics, reported sexual behaviours and with HIV and other STIs were estimated using multivariable conditional logistic regression.


The prevalence of male circumcision was 40.6%, and age-specific prevalence had more than doubled since 2001/2002. Circumcised men reported less risky sexual behaviours, being more likely to report having ever used a condom (adjusted OR = 2.62, 95%CI:2.32-2.95). Men circumcised before sexual debut were at reduced risk of being HIV seropositive compared with non-circumcised men (adjusted OR = 0.50, 95%CI:0.25-0.97), and also had reduced risks of HSV-2 infection and genital ulcer syndrome in the past 12 months compared with non-circumcised men.


There was a steep increase in circumcision prevalence between 2001/02 and 2007/08 in the absence of a promotional campaign. Circumcised men reported safer sexual practices than non-circumcised men and had lower prevalence of HIV and HSV-2 infection.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk