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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

Despite MC prevalence increases in all priority countries since the onset of VMMC campaigns in 2008, MC prevalence remains below the 80 percent coverage target in most subnational areas and is highly variable. These mapped results provide an actionable tool for understanding local needs and informing VMMC interventions for maximum impact in the continued effort towards ending the HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa.

July 7, 2020
BMC Medicine

Efficacy of medical male circumcision on HIV incidence from randomized controlled trials was supported by effectiveness from observational studies in populations with diverse HIV risk and changing epidemic contexts. Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision remains an important evidence-based intervention for control of generalized HIV epidemics.

June 18, 2020
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