The Relationship between Female Genital Mutilation and HIV Transmission in Sub-Saharan Africa

Abimbola A. Olaniran


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is an age-old practice that has since been linked with many health problems. This review aims to highlight some of the controversies trailing the relationship between FGM and HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. A literature search was conducted on the subject matter. This was done using articles published in English while limiting the geographical coverage to sub-Saharan Africa. Three themes were noted. These themes include: Direct causal link between FGM and HIV transmission; indirect causal link between FGM and HIV transmission and a negative or no association between FGM and HIV transmission. While many of the arguments are within scientific reasoning, the researches supporting the views seem to lack the necessary objectivity. This study underscored the need for a more objective lens in viewing and conducting research on the relationship between FGM and HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa. Afr J Reprod Health 2013 (Special Edition); 17[4]: 156-160).


Keywords: Female Genital Cutting, Female circumcision, gender, sexually transmitted infection.




Les mutilations génitales féminines (MGF) est une pratique séculaire qui a depuis été lié à de nombreux problèmes de santé. Cet examen vise à ressortir certaines des controverses suscitées par la relation entre les MGF et la transmission du VIH en Afrique subsaharienne. Une recherche bibliographique a été menée sur le sujet. Cela a été fait en utilisant des articles publiés en anglais, tout en limitant la couverture géographique à l'Afrique subsaharienne. Trois thèmes ont été notés. Ces thèmes sont les suivants: Lien de causalité direct entre les MGF et la transmission du VIH ; le lien indirect de causalité entre les MGF et la transmission du VIH et une association négative ou nulle entre les MGF et la transmission du VIH. Alors que la plupart des arguments sont dans le raisonnement scientifique, les recherches qui soutiennent les opinions ne semblent pas avoir l'objectivité nécessaire. Cette étude souligne la nécessité d'une lentille plus objective dans la visualisation et la recherche sur la relation entre les MGF et la transmission du VIH en Afrique subsaharienne. Afr J Reprod Health 2013 (Edition Spéciale); 17[4]: 156-160).


Mots-clés: Excision génitale féminine, excision, sexe, infections sexuellement transmissibles.

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