New PLOS Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Modeling Collection Focuses on Programmatic Next Steps
July 26, 2016
With 2.3 million new HIV infections occurring in sub-Saharan Africa each year, scaling up impactful programs such as voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention has become increasingly important.
VMMC can make a unique contribution to HIV prevention: it is a single event with lifetime benefits for men, along with indirect benefits for women and even uncircumcised men. Because it is a one-time intervention, it is not subject to user adherence challenges that plague other HIV prevention approaches.
By the end of 2015, 11.7 million males had been circumcised, out of the projected 20.9 million needed to reach 80% adult male circumcision prevalence in priority countries by 2015. Decision makers are now considering the impact of the achievements thus far and the next prioritization strategies, as they plan the next steps for the programs in light of implementation experience and changes in the HIV landscape. Now the question is how to efficiently reach the levels of male circumcision coverage needed to create and sustain further reductions in HIV incidence toward the 2030 goal of a world in which AIDS is no longer a public health threat.
This new PLOS Collection developed in collaboration with USAID, the World Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, focuses on the next steps of the program and features new modelling articles published in PLOS ONE and PLOS Medicine aiming to help countries examine the potential effects of focusing on specific sub-populations for male circumcision services.
David Stanton, the Director of the USAID Office of HIV/AIDS states: “The modeling featured in this collection assists PEPFAR and country partners in making informed decisions about VMMC programs and to focus resources more effectively for maximum impact on the epidemic.”
Using these new mathematical models, it is hoped that all decision makers will be in a better position to make more-informed choices about which strategies to prioritize and where best to invest efforts to achieve goals if they are equipped with the evidence, analysis, and impact estimates for HIV prevention.