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WHY CIRCUMCISION MATTERS
The world has an unprecedented opportunity in the next 15 years to prevent an estimated 3 and 1/2 million new HIV infections in Southern and Eastern African countries with high HIV prevalence and low male circumcision prevalence. While access to HIV treatment has increased significantly in this region over the past 5 years, the number of new infections continues to outpace the expansion of treatment. Scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is critically important to reduce the future burden of HIV in eastern and southern Africa. VMMC involves a single surgical intervention and offers men substantial lifelong partial protection against the acquisition of HIV and a number of other sexually transmitted diseases. VMMC also offers direct protection against cervical cancer to women. The minimum services to be offered, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), includes counseling and testing, risk reduction counseling, screening and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, promotion of correct and consistent use of male and female condoms, active referral of HIV-positive men to care and treatments and surgical removal of the foreskin.
In 2007, WHO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) issued recommendations to implement VMMC in settings with high HIV prevalence and low male circumcision prevalence. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), with funds from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has been at the forefront of introducing, launching and rolling out this effective HIV prevention method in several of the priority countries. USAID has provided technical and financial support for scaling up VMMC in 14 priority countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.
USAID works in close collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; WHO; UNAIDS; UNICEF; the World Bank; U.S. Government agencies implementing the PEPFAR program (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health and the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator); and implementing partners.
USAID provides support to host countries’ ministries of health for VMMC scale-up through:
- Technical assistance for program design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation
- Operational research, including introduction of new technologies such as medical devices and male circumcision surgical kits with disposable instruments
- Technical assistance for policy, strategic and operational plan development
- Data for decision-making generated through costing and modeling activities in support of donors and national HIV planning
- Advocacy for use of innovative methods and acceleration of VMMC scale-up
- Development training documents and materials
- Service delivery, including demand creation and communication, human resources for health, logistic and commodity procurement, monitoring and evaluation and quality assurance
- Identification and sharing of best practices
- Supporting south-to-south exchanges
CURRENT PROGRAMMATIC HIGHLIGHTS
Project SEARCH: Research to Prevention (R2P) project, led by Johns Hopkins University and in collaboration with Tulane University, conducts operations research studies related to the uptake, quality and integration of VMMC and HIV prevention programming.
MCHIP, managed by Jhpiego, USAID’s flagship maternal and child health program, has championed global VMMC guidance, including initial start up and expansion of VMMC programs. MCHIP works in collaboration with PEPFAR and other agencies to design and assess programs, identify bottlenecks to service delivery, redesign programs for efficiency and develop scale-up models.
The Health Policy Initiative (HPI) Costing Task Order and the Health Policy Project (HPP) uses the Decision Makers’ Program Planning Tool (DMPPT), developed by HPI in collaboration with UNAIDS, and the Decision Makers’ Program Planning Tool 2.0 (DMPPT 2.0), developed by HPP in collaboration with BMGF, to generate country-specific cost data that (1) inform realistic budgets and targets for VMMC programs; (2) identify the current level of funding required to achieve program goals; and (3) model the costs and impacts of different service delivery models. These two projects are implemented by Futures Group and Futures Institute.
The Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems Project provides technical support to the Uganda Ministry of Health and PEPFAR implementing partners to improve the quality and safety of VMMC services by applying the continuous quality improvement (QI) method. This includes empowering site-level QI teams to identify gaps and test changes to address those gaps, as well as equipping QI teams with the skills to use their own data to improve the quality of care and scale-up best practices through shared learning.
The Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3), managed by John Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and project partner UNICEF, is conducting an assessment of the quality of communication and care provided by the VMMC program to adolescents and youth populations (10 to 24 years old).
The Partnership for Supply Chain Management System (SCMS) works with the PEPFAR Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Technical Working Group (VMMC TWG) on the task of leading the procurement and supply chain management of VMMC kits and supplementary commodities. Kit components and supplementary commodities have been agreed upon through consensus of the VMMC TWG partners. As a result, SCMS can apply economies of scale to negotiate the lowest prices possible while maintaining the highest quality product for the VMMC program.
VMMC PLOS Medicine Collection
This sponsored collection of nine new articles, includes four reviews and five research articles, published in PLoS Medicine and PLoS ONE, in conjunction with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
PEPFAR’s Best Practices for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Site Operations: A Service Guide for Site Operations
PEPFAR’s Best Practices for Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Site Operations: A Service Guide for Site Operations provides implementing partners with a comprehensive and consistent process for establishing new VMMC services for HIV prevention. The scope of this document is limited to establishing and supporting quality VMMC services for HIV prevention at the facility or VMMC site level.
- Read or download the entire PEPFAR Best Practices document [PDF, 835 KB]
- See the international guidance documents and useful tools, figures and tables intended for use with the PEPFAR’s Best Practices document for VMMC
In It to Save Lives: Scaling Up Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention for Maximum Public Health Impact
In It to Save Lives: Scaling Up Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention for Maximum Public Health Impact was produced by AIDSTAR-One, a PEPFAR-funded USAID project. This 16-minute film explains how governments in Kenya and Swaziland have embraced VMMC for HIV prevention.
A complementary video discussion guide, resource packet and DVD download/request form are available here.
How to use the In It to Save Lives video as an advocacy tool:
- Download the video to share with others, including community and political leaders
- Use the accompanying discussion guide after viewing the movie. It uses everyday language to provide answers to some frequently asked questions about VMMC
- Use the accompanying resource packet; its resources and websites provide more detailed information about specific aspects of medical male circumcision that are relevant to multiple audiences
C-Change Communication Materials Adaptation Guide
Communication Materials Adaptation Guide was produced by the Communication for Change (C-Change) project and offers comprehensive guidance on communication programs scaling up services in new settings. It outlines a 10-step, participatory process for adapting materials to make them appealing and relevant to new audiences.
- Download the Communication Materials Adaptation Guide [PDF, 1.9 MB]
Last updated: November 15, 2013