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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

Arch-Bishop Moses Okech told The Standard that past research has shown that voluntary medical male circumcision has had a massive impact on members of the church. “Circumcision helps in reducing cases of HIV. Other churches have been silently doing it and we believe it is a good initiative,” said Okech.

January 17, 2019
Standard Digital

On Tuesday, something odd happened in Washington: A bill became a law. It passed by unanimous consent in the Senate and voice vote in the House (typically taken when a measure faces no significant opposition), and was signed by President Donald Trump.This wasn’t a trivial, “let’s rename a post office” bill either. The bill reauthorized PEPFAR — the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief — through 2023. PEPFAR provides billions in annual funding and technical support for antiretroviral treatment, HIV-preventing male circumcisions, and other efforts to treat and prevent HIV.

December 12, 2018

Overall, demand-side financial incentives appeared to improve linkage for both HIV treatment and VMMC with greater effect for VMMC. In the future, demand-side financial incentives could improve linkage to HIV treatment or VMMC in low- and middle-income countries although uptake by policy makers remains a challenge.

November 14, 2018
PLoS One
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