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Background: Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) has been promoted in high epidemic countries as part of a combination prevention approach since the release of WHO Guidelines in 2007. South Africa has been implementing VMMC nationally, with demand creation an integral part of the programme. This study evaluated a mass media campaign; Brothers for Life “Salon advert” to investigate its impact on the uptake of VMMC.
Methods: Between September and October 2015, a nationally representative survey of 3 763 men and women aged 15 years and over was conducted as part of the IPSOS Khayabus survey. Demographic, knowledge, attitudinal and behavioural outcomes (KAB), self-reported circumcision status (traditional and medical) and exposure to the Brothers for Life HIV communication and VMMC campaign was collected through face-to-face computer assisted personal interview (CAPI). The association between the KAB outcomes and exposure to the campaign was analysed for a subset of men aged 15- 30 (n=763), who are the primary audience of the campaign.
Results: Of the 763 men interviewed, 63% reported that they were circumcised. Exposure to the campaign was reported as 46%, i.e. have seen the advert. The likelihood of being circumcised increased monotonically with exposure to the campaign, from 15% at none to 54% at the highest level of exposure. Further behavioural outcomes observed in relation to campaign exposure are: 73% of men reported condom use at last sex (15% at no exposure vs. 51% at the highest level of exposure) and testing for HIV is 43.8% (50.5% at highest exposure vs. 14.1% at none). Knowledge of circumcision benefits as well as post-circumcision care is highest in men who have the highest exposure to the campaign (81% knowing HIV risk reduction benefits at highest exposure vs. 72% at no exposure and 71% ''wait six weeks'' at highest exposure vs. 67% at no exposure).
Conclusions: The importance of demand creation through mass media cannot be underscored as shown by the findings of this study. Brothers for Life campaign is an important contributor to the uptake of circumcision and other HIV prevention behaviours such as condom use and HIV testing.

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