Male Circumcision and Risky Sexual Behavior in Zimbabwe: Evidence from the 2010-11 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey

Antony Chikutsa, Alfred C Ncube, Shephard Mutsau


In 2009, Zimbabwe adopted voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) as an additional method of HIV prevention. The promotion of VMMC has raised a major concern that it might lead to an increase in high-risk sexual behavior, a phenomenon known as risk compensation or behavioral disinhibition. This study sought to test whether circumcised men in Zimbabwe are more likely to have engaged in risky sexual behavior. The study used data collected from 7,480 men age 15-54 who were interviewed during the 2010-11 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS). Logistic regression was used to assess the association between circumcision and risky sexual behaviors. The study found no statistically significant association between male circumcision and risky sexual behavior. These results suggest a need to continue monitoring the relationships between ongoing VMCC campaigns and men’s risky sexual behavior. Information dissemination on VMMC should emphasize caution in messages promoting medical male circumcision to avoid giving the impression that it provides immunity against HIV.


HIV prevention; Voluntary medical male circumcision; Risky sexual behavior

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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