ResearchPad - female-genital-mutilation Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Sexual norms and the intention to use healthcare services related to female genital cutting: A qualitative study among Somali and Sudanese women in Norway]]> Female Genital Cutting (FGC) is a traditionally meaningful practice in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. It is associated with a high risk of long-term physical and psychosexual health problems. Girls and women with FGC-related health problems need specialized healthcare services such as psychosexual counseling, deinfibulation, and clitoral reconstruction. Moreover, the need for psychosexual counseling increases in countries of immigration where FGC is not accepted and possibly stigmatized. In these countries, the practice loses its cultural meaning and girls and women with FGC are more likely to report psychosexual problems. In Norway, a country of immigration, psychosexual counseling is lacking. To decide whether to provide this and/or other services, it is important to explore the intention of the target population to use FGC-related healthcare services. That is as deinfibulation, an already available service, is underutilized. In this article, we explore whether girls and women with FGC intend to use FGC-related healthcare services, regardless of their availability in Norway.MethodsWe conducted 61 in-depth interviews with 26 Somali and Sudanese participants with FGC in Norway. We then validated our findings in three focus group discussions with additional 17 participants.FindingsWe found that most of our participants were positive towards psychosexual counseling and would use it if available. We also identified four cultural scenarios with different sets of sexual norms that centered on getting and/or staying married, and which largely influenced the participants’ intention to use FGC-related services. These cultural scenarios are the virgin, the passive-, the conditioned active-, and the equal- sexual partner scenarios. Participants with negative attitudes towards the use of almost all of the FGC-related healthcare services were influenced by a set of norms pertaining to virginity and passive sexual behavior. In contrast, participants with positive attitudes towards the use of all of these same services were influenced by another set of norms pertaining to sexual and gender equality. On the other hand, participants with positive attitudes towards the use of services that can help to improve their marital sexual lives, yet negative towards the use of premarital services were influenced by a third set of norms that combined norms from the two aforementioned sets of norms.ConclusionThe intention to use FGC-related healthcare services varies between and within the different ethnic groups. Moreover, the same girl or woman can have different attitudes towards the use of the different FGC-related healthcare services or even towards the same services at the different stages of her life. These insights could prove valuable for Norwegian and other policy-makers and healthcare professionals during the planning and/or delivery of FGC-related healthcare services. ]]> <![CDATA[The Saleema initiative in Sudan to abandon female genital mutilation: Outcomes and dose response effects]]>


The overall goal of the Saleema Initiative in Sudan is to promote long-term abandonment of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM) through a contribution to changing social norms, attitudes, and intentions related to the practice. The initiative aims to create positive cultural associations with a girl remaining uncut, a new social norm. Saleema hypothesizes that branding the alternative to FGM (abandonment) will promote social norms change. In 2014, the lead author designed a monitoring and evaluation framework for Saleema in partnership with UNICEF, the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW), and local organizations.


The Saleema evaluation aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign in reducing pro-FGM social norms. A quasi-experimental design controlled for dosage of campaign messages delivered across the 18 states in Sudan to measure a dose-response effect. We operationalized social norms through a 4-item scale validated in previous research.


This paper reports on quantitative evaluation findings based on data gathered in from 2015–2017 and focuses on the dose-response relationship between Saleema exposure and changes in FGM social norms. We found that self-reported exposure was associated with reduced pro-FGM social norms (coeff. = -0.329, p < .001). Additionally, higher doses of Saleema, measured through an exogenous measure of campaign event exposure from an independent monitoring system was associated with reduced pro-FGM social norms (coeff. = -0.146, p < .001).


Saleema was effective in reducing pro-FGM social norms. It is a promising strategy and findings contribute to the growing literature on social norms approaches to behavior change.

<![CDATA[Compassionate and Proactive Interventions by Health Workers in the United Kingdom: A Better Approach to Prevent and Respond to Female Genital Mutilation?]]>

Amasanti and colleagues consider female genital mutilation in the UK, how overly intrusive efforts to help might make the problem worse, and how best to move forwards.

<![CDATA[Seminal plasma induces inflammation and enhances HIV-1 replication in human cervical tissue explants]]>

The most immediate and evident effect of mucosal exposure to semen in vivo is a local release of proinflammatory mediators accompanied by an influx of leukocytes into the female genital mucosa (FGM). The implication of such response in HIV-1 transmission has never been addressed due to limitations of currently available experimental models. Using human tissue explants from the uterine cervix, we developed a system of mucosal exposure to seminal plasma (SP) that supports HIV-1 replication. Treatment of ectocervical explants with SP resulted in the upregulation of inflammatory and growth factors, including IL-6, TNF, CCL5, CCL20, CXCL1, and CXCL8, and IL1A, CSF2, IL7, PTGS2, as evaluated by measuring protein levels in explant conditioned medium (ECM) and gene expression in tissue. SP treatment was also associated with increased recruitment of monocytes and neutrophils, as observed upon incubation of peripheral blood leukocytes with ECM in a transwell system. To evaluate the impact of the SP-mediated response on local susceptibility to HIV-1, we infected ectocervical explants with the CCR5-tropic variant HIV-1BaL either in the presence of SP, or after explant pre-incubation with SP. In both experimental settings SP enhanced virus replication as evaluated by HIV-1 p24gag released in explant culture medium over time, as well as by HIV-1 DNA quantification in explants infected in the presence of SP. These results suggest that a sustained inflammatory response elicited by SP soon after coitus may promote HIV-1 transmission to the FGM. Nevertheless, ectocervical tissue explants did not support the replication of transmitted/founder HIV-1 molecular clones, regardless of SP treatment. Our system offers experimental and analytical advantages over traditional models of HIV-1 transmission for the study of SP immunoregulatory effect on the FGM, and may provide a useful platform to ultimately identify new determinants of HIV-1 infection at this site.