A Kenyan newspaper analysis of the limitations of voluntary medical male circumcision and the importance of sustained condom use

A Kenyan newspaper analysis of the limitations of voluntary medical male circumcision and the importance of sustained condom use

This analysis of Kenyan media treatment of condom use has the objectives of: (1) investigating promotion messages in a popular online newspaper to determine how the limitations of male circumcision are represented, and whether condom use is still being promoted; and (2) gaining insight into popular understandings of the limitations of this new procedure through newspaper reader comments.

Because the results of three clinical trials in sub-Saharan Africa indicate that male circumcision may provide a protective effect of approximately 60% against the acquisition of HIV in heterosexual males, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), has been promoted in Kenya.

This study searched the independent East and Central African newspaper the Daily Nation, using as a qualitative thematic analysis. "Following this sampling framework, a total of 34 online media articles published during a two-year period between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2010 were selected for final coding and analysis. This period coincided with the launch and expansion of the Kenyan VMMC programme." The study utilised the newspaper's website for both news and Op/Ed articles and included reader comments in the analysis. Researchers included a placement analysis on the assumption that more readers scan the beginning of articles than finish them.

Among the recommendations:

  • the government could provide regular news releases or information sessions to the media, which communicate the procedures’ partial protection
  • continued monitoring is needed to ensure media messaging concerning VMMC includes discussion of limitations and encourages condom use following circumcision
  • further research should be conducted to investigate whether the general public understands that VMMC does not completely protect them from HIV infection and the importance of sustained condom use whether or not they are circumcised. This research could involve surveys of people’s attitudes or employ more qualitative methods of focus group discussions and interviews
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