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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 implementation of VMMC is compromised due to poor preparation and training of healthcare workers for implementing the service. Addressing health care workers’ needs for training and preparation is crucial for successful implementation of VMMC.

March 30, 2020

The understanding of males regarding VMMC was mainly attributed to HIV prevention; however, knowledge on the degree of partial protection appeared to be limited. An array of negative accounted in the form of complications such as poor wound healing and postoperative pain undergone by peers and other close influencers’ accounted for participants’ experiences of VMMC. Poor knowledge and negative experiences relating to VMMC could account for reasons why men choose not to undergo VMMC.

March 5, 2020
American Journal of Men's Health
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