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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

Circumcisions reduced the odds of HIV infection by 23 percent for men who have sex with men, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published in the Lancet Global Health. The protective effect was primarily seen in studies conducted in low- and middle-income regions where MSM are highly stigmatized and lacking in targeted HIV prevention resources.

April 4, 2019

We found evidence that circumcision is likely to protect MSM from HIV infection, particularly in countries of low and middle income. Circumcision might also protect MSM from HSV and penile HPV infection. MSM should be included in campaigns promoting circumcision among men in countries of low and middle income.

April 1, 2019
Lancet Global Health

Models can be used to mobilize support, strategically plan, and monitor key programmatic elements, but they can also help inform policy environments in which programs are conceptualized and implemented to achieve results. The ways in which modeling has informed VMMC programs and policy may be applicable to an array of other health interventions.

March 18, 2019
PLoS One
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