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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

Data on coverage of VMMC for men and ART for women, covering over a decade of real-world programming in Rakai, Uganda, were published in JAMA. They show that increased coverage of VMMC for men, and ART for women living with HIV, both contributed to reduced incidence in men in the community.

July 12, 2016

Nine manuscripts published in PLoS discuss new modelling that assess the impact of VMMC programs on a narrower age group of clients than previously recommended, and specific geographic areas. Findings show VMMC has saved 218,000 lives so far, prevented 450,000 new HIV cases, and will prevent another 470,000 cases if VMMC reaches the right people on time. In addition to this initial launch of nine manuscripts, the full collection of sixteen articles and an editorial is expected to be available in mid-August.

South Africa Minister of Health, Aaron Motsolaedi, joined Molotsi Monyamane, Simon Zwane to share their views on the results on, a health journalism publication.

July 21, 2016
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