Article

Voluntary medical male circumcision: an HIV prevention priority for PEPFAR.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.
JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (Impact Factor: 4.39). 08/2012; 60 Suppl 3:S88-95. DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31825cac4e
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT As the science demonstrating strong evidence for voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention has evolved, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has collaborated with international agencies, donors, and partner country governments supporting VMMC programming. Mathematical models forecast that quickly reaching a large number of uncircumcised men with VMMC in strategically chosen populations may dramatically reduce community-level HIV incidence and save billions of dollars in HIV care and treatment costs. Because VMMC is a 1-time procedure that confers life-long partial protection against HIV, programs for adult men are vital short-term investments with long-term benefits. VMMC also provides a unique opportunity to reach boys and men with HIV testing and counseling services and referrals for other HIV services, including treatment. After formal recommendations by WHO in 2007, priority countries have pursued expansion of VMMC. More than 1 million males have received VMMC thus far, with the most notable successes coming from Kenya's Nyanza Province. However, a myriad of necessary cultural, political, and ethical considerations have moderated the pace of overall success. Because many millions more uncircumcised men would benefit from VMMC services now, US President Barack Obama committed PEPFAR to provide 4.7 million males with VMMC by 2014. Innovative circumcision methods-such as medical devices that remove the foreskin without injected anesthesia and/or sutures-are being rigorously evaluated. Incorporation of safe innovations into surgical VMMC programs may provide the opportunity to reach more men more quickly with services and dramatically reduce HIV incidence for all.

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    ABSTRACT: In many communities, older men (i.e., over 25 years of age) have not come forward for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) services. Reasons for low demand among this group of men are not well understood, and may vary across geographic and cultural contexts. This paper examines the facilitators and barriers to VMMC demand in Turkana County, Kenya, with a focus on older men. This is one of the regions targeted by the VMMC program in Kenya because the Turkana ethnic group does not traditionally circumcise, and the rates of HIV and STD transmission are high. Twenty focus group discussions and 69 in-depth interviews were conducted with circumcised and uncircumcised men and their partners to elicit their attitudes and perceptions toward male circumcision. The interviews were conducted in urban, peri-urban, and rural communities across Turkana. Our results show that barriers to circumcision include stigma associated with VMMC, the perception of low risk for HIV for older men and their "protection by marriage," cultural norms, and a lack of health infrastructure. Facilitators include stigma against not being circumcised (since circumcision is associated with modernity), protection against disease including HIV, and cleanliness. It was also noted that older men should adopt the practice to serve as role models to younger men. Both men and women were generally supportive of VMMC, but overcoming barriers with appropriate communication messages and high quality services will be challenging. The justification of circumcision being a biomedical procedure for protection against HIV will be the most important message for any communication strategy.
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