Opinions on integrating couple counselling and female sexual reproductive health services into Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision services in Lilongwe, Malawi Public Deposited

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  • Maseko, B.
    • Other Affiliation: Malawi Liverpool Welcome Trust Clinical Research Programme
  • Bula, A.
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, UNC Project-Malawi
  • Sasse, S.
    • Other Affiliation: New York University
  • Thom, A.
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, UNC Project-Malawi
  • Tsidya, M.
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, UNC Project-Malawi
  • Tang, J.
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Hosseinipour, M.C.
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, UNC Project-Malawi
  • Background Couples HIV Counselling and Testing (CHCT) has been found to be potentially beneficial than individual HIV Counselling and Testing for prevention and treatment of HIV. However, there are few health care opportunities for men and women to access health services together, leading to underutilization of CHCT service. Integrating female Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) services into male-dominated service could be more effective than trying to integrate men's health services into female-dominated health services. A potential site for male-female service integration could be Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) centers. Methodology We conducted a qualitative study in Lilongwe, Malawi between June to August 2018. Twenty VMMC clients, 20 peers and 20 VMMC providers completed individual in-depth interviews to share their opinions on what they thought about integrating CHCT and other SRH Services into VMMC services. These proposed SRH services include family planning, cervical cancer screening, sexually transmitted infection management and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Content analysis was used to analyze the results. Results All participants were receptive to integration of CHCT, and most accepted the integration of SRH services into VMMC Services. Most VMMC clients, peers and care providers said that CHCT integration would help couples to know their HIV status, prevent HIV transmission, encourage healthy relationships, and provide a chance for women to participate in VMMC counselling and wound care. However, integration of other services, such as family planning and cervical cancer screening, drew mixed opinions among participants. Most VMMC clients, peers and providers felt that integration of services would promote male involvement and increase men's knowledge in feminine sexual reproductive health services. A few providers expressed concerns over service integration, citing reasons such as overcrowding, work overload, gender mixing, and lack of provider capacity and space. Most participants supported integrating PrEP with VMMC Services and felt that PrEP would complement VMMC in HIV prevention. Few providers, peers and VMMC clients felt the addition of PrEP to VMMC services would lead to high-risk sexual activity that would then increase the risk for HIV acquisition. A few participants recommended community sensitization when integrating some of sexual reproductive health services into VMMC Services to mitigate negative perceptions about VMMC services and encourage service uptake among couples Conclusion Most participants service providers, VMMC clients and Peers were receptive to integrating SRH services, particularly HIV prevention services such as CHCT and PrEP, into male dominated VMMC services. Adequate community sensitization is required when introducing other SRH services into VMMC services.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Article
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Attribution 4.0 International
Journal title
  • PLoS ONE
Journal volume
  • 17
Journal issue
  • 9-Sep
  • English
  • Publisher

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