VMMC lowers a man’s risk of becoming infected with HIV from a female partner by 60 percent. Since the procedure cannot be reversed, this partial protection continues throughout his life. The more men who undergo the procedure, the fewer men there are living with HIV in a community. This, in turn, helps lower the likelihood that women in the community will become infected with HIV.
The procedure is simple: medical male circumcision is completed either through a quick surgical procedure by a trained health professional, or a non-surgical device-based method administered by a healthcare provider. Both methods use localized anesthesia and cause little to no pain.
VMMC is being rolled out for HIV prevention in African countries with high HIV prevalence and low levels of adult male circumcision. The goal: to circumcise 45 million men and boys in these countries to avert 3.4 million new HIV infections and save US$16.6 billion in future healthcare costs. Although countries have had uneven progress, worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, by the end of 2022, more than 30 million circumcisions had been completed.
Advocacy for VMMC
The gains made by the highest-performing VMMC countries have been tempered by insufficient progress in other places. Sustained investment, innovation to increase uptake and monitoring are needed to keep on track.