Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Attitudes re circumcision in Africa

This newly-published page shows the results of a set of Gallup surveys in a number of African countries.

They found that attitudes varied by country. The percentage who agreed with "male circumcision reduces the risk of being infected with HIV/AIDS" varied from 26% to 80%. The percentage of respondents agreeing with the statement "all men should be circumcised" varied from 39% to 85%.

Interestingly, both sets of responses were strongly related to education level: the more educated people were, their responses to the first question were more consistent with the scientific evidence, and their responses to the second were more "pro-circumcision".

The question is, is it that more educated people are more aware of circumcision, and more receptive to scientific information about it? Or is it that less educated people are less resistant to anti-circumcision propaganda, perhaps lacking the critical thinking skills that allow us to see it for what it is?

Some follow-up questions: how do we ensure that information about circumcision reaches the less educated members of society? Or, how can the less educated members of society be protected from anti-circumcision propaganda?

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