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Global Health
April 18, 2017

Educating Religious Leaders Increases Male Circumcision Rates in Tanzania

JAMA. 2017;317(15):1517. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.3828

Educating religious leaders in Tanzania about voluntary male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy increased the numbers of men who underwent this procedure, report a team of researchers from the United States and Tanzania in The Lancet.

To examine whether providing religious leaders with information about male circumcision would increase uptake of circumcision, the investigators carried out a community-based, cluster randomized trial in 16 villages in northwest Tanzania between June 2014 and December 2015. During this time, the Tanzanian Ministry of Health was conducting a male circumcision outreach campaign in this area that consisted of outreach events, free circumcisions, and HIV counseling to boys and men. Villages were randomly assigned to receive either this standard outreach information (control) or additional education for Christian church leaders (intervention) that consisted of a seminar about the medical, historical, religious, tribal, and social aspects of male circumcision and follow-up meetings every 2 weeks during the campaign.

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