This week PLOS launched a new collection, Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention: New Mathematical Models for Prioritizing Sub-Populations by Age & Geography, featuring new modeling research that aims to help country decision-makers examine the potential effects of targeting sub-populations for voluntary medical male circumcision services.
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 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.
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.
This PLOS Collection, and a related collection to be published in Global Health: Science and Practice developed in collaboration with UNICEF and PEPFAR, focusing on introducing early infant male circumcision (EIMC) to sustain VMMC programs, will be featured at a satellite session, Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) as Primary HIV Prevention: Maximizing Our Investment and Considerations for Sustainability at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa on Monday, 18 July 2016 from 10:15am to 12:15pm in Session Room 11. The satellite, organized by the AIDSFree Project on behalf of PEPFAR and USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank and UNICEF, will provide a summary of VMMC and early infant male circumcision (EIMC)-related research findings.
Please visit the collection here: www.collections.plos.org/vmmc2016