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Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision

A simple approach with life-long benefits could prevent millions of HIV infections. It’s time to realize that potential.

Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is one of the most powerful and cost-effective HIV prevention tools at hand. Studies from 2006 showed that it reduces a man’s risk of acquiring HIV from a female partner by up to 60 percent, increasing to around 75 percent over time.

VMMC is being rolled out for HIV prevention in 14 sub-Saharan African countries with high HIV prevalence and low levels of adult male circumcision. The goal: achieve 80 percent coverage among men in these countries in order to avert 3.4 million new HIV infections and save US$16.6 billion in future healthcare costs. After years of slow progress, scale-up of VMMC is accelerating. Sustained investment and close monitoring are needed to keep things on track.

Newly available non-surgical circumcision devices could also play a role, offering an alternative to sutures and surgery that some men may prefer. Countries need to decide if and how to introduce devices, while making plans, budgets and communications campaigns to keep scale-up on track. AVAC and others are advocating for action to make sure these steps happen.

What We're Reading

Recently circumcised men do not necessarily adopt riskier sexual practices because of perceived protection from HIV after the procedure. A study conducted in Kisumu, published in the current edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, shows...“no association between circumcision status and sexual behaviours, HIV knowledge, or indicators of risk perception"....The prevalence of male circumcision in Kisumu increased steadily from 32 percent in 2009, to 49 percent in 2011, and to 60 percent in 2013.

March 2, 2017
The Star (Kenya)

Aidsmap reports on three large and long term studies released early in 2017 showing no significant change in risky behavior among circumcised men. All three studies were based in African countries where voluntary medical male circumcision has been rolled out to reduce the transmission of HIV.

February 22, 2017

A December study, published in PLOS, models the impact of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) on HIV incidence when it's scaled up alongside United Nation's targets for testing and treatment. The study, conducted by SOAR (Supporting Operational AIDS Research) and Jhpiego, showed a significant reduction in the risk of acquiring HIV when VMMC is scaled up under three different scenarios: UN targets reached for testing and treatment, targets reached for women but not men, and targets not fully reached. The study includes a look at the cost of VMMC overtime.

December 30, 2016
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