Introduction: Strong scientific evidence supports voluntary medical male circumcision as
part of an overall HIV prevention strategy, but self-report information on circumcision status may be
inaccurate. The study objectives were to obtain estimates of male circumcision within the Rwanda Defense
Force (RDF), to assess the ability of soldiers to correctly report their own circumcision status,
and to document the uptake of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in the RDF.
Methods: Data were collected from members of the Rwandan military during their annual physical
examination. A self-administered questionnaire collected demographic and circumcision characteristics.
Self-reported circumcision status was compared with the medical exam evaluation.
Results: Using questionnaires with complete data (n = 579), 69% of the study participants were circumcised
by physical examination and there was a strong agreement with self-reported circumcision
status (κ = 0.97). Almost half (44%) of all circumcisions had been performed within the past 2 years.
Discussion: These results suggest that self-report is an appropriate method to collect information on
circumcision status in the Rwandan military. Many of the circumcisions occurred within the last 2
years, possibly as an effect of the successful scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision in the
Rwandan military utilizing effective messaging, demand creation, and positive news reported by the