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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

The majority of individuals who seek voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services in sub-Saharan Africa are adolescents (ages 10–19 years). However, adolescents who obtain VMMC services report receiving little information on HIV prevention and care. In this study, the authors assess the perceptions of VMMC facility managers and providers about current training and their perspectives on age-appropriate counseling for adolescents.

April 3, 2018
Clinical Infectious Diseases

Mathematical modeling to assess the likelihood that selected countries will achieve targets for voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) suggest only Tanzania is on track to reach the goal of 90% VMMC coverage in 10- to 29-year-olds by the end of 2021. Major changes in VMMC implementation in most countries will be required to reach 2021 targets set by the World Health Organization and joint United Nations programme for VMMC coverage in priority settings.

April 3, 2018
Clinical Infectious Diseases

This study tracked nearly 34,000 participants from 30 communities for 17 years and attributed significant declines in the rate of infection to combination prevention. The interventions under review included voluntary medical male circumcision, antiretroviral treatment and viral suppression and a number of behavioral changes.

November 29, 2017
New England Journal of Medicine
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