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1.  Male Circumcision at Different Ages in Rwanda: A Cost-Effectiveness Study 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(1):e1000211.
Agnes Binagwaho and colleagues predict that circumcision of newborn boys would be effective and cost-saving as a long-term strategy to prevent HIV in Rwanda.
Background
There is strong evidence showing that male circumcision (MC) reduces HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In Rwanda, where adult HIV prevalence is 3%, MC is not a traditional practice. The Rwanda National AIDS Commission modelled cost and effects of MC at different ages to inform policy and programmatic decisions in relation to introducing MC. This study was necessary because the MC debate in Southern Africa has focused primarily on MC for adults. Further, this is the first time, to our knowledge, that a cost-effectiveness study on MC has been carried out in a country where HIV prevalence is below 5%.
Methods and Findings
A cost-effectiveness model was developed and applied to three hypothetical cohorts in Rwanda: newborns, adolescents, and adult men. Effectiveness was defined as the number of HIV infections averted, and was calculated as the product of the number of people susceptible to HIV infection in the cohort, the HIV incidence rate at different ages, and the protective effect of MC; discounted back to the year of circumcision and summed over the life expectancy of the circumcised person. Direct costs were based on interviews with experienced health care providers to determine inputs involved in the procedure (from consumables to staff time) and related prices. Other costs included training, patient counselling, treatment of adverse events, and promotion campaigns, and they were adjusted for the averted lifetime cost of health care (antiretroviral therapy [ART], opportunistic infection [OI], laboratory tests). One-way sensitivity analysis was performed by varying the main inputs of the model, and thresholds were calculated at which each intervention is no longer cost-saving and at which an intervention costs more than one gross domestic product (GDP) per capita per life-year gained. Results: Neonatal MC is less expensive than adolescent and adult MC (US$15 instead of US$59 per procedure) and is cost-saving (the cost-effectiveness ratio is negative), even though savings from infant circumcision will be realized later in time. The cost per infection averted is US$3,932 for adolescent MC and US$4,949 for adult MC. Results for infant MC appear robust. Infant MC remains highly cost-effective across a reasonable range of variation in the base case scenario. Adolescent MC is highly cost-effective for the base case scenario but this high cost-effectiveness is not robust to small changes in the input variables. Adult MC is neither cost-saving nor highly cost-effective when considering only the direct benefit for the circumcised man.
Conclusions
The study suggests that Rwanda should be simultaneously scaling up circumcision across a broad range of age groups, with high priority to the very young. Infant MC can be integrated into existing health services (i.e., neonatal visits and vaccination sessions) and over time has better potential than adolescent and adult circumcision to achieve the very high coverage of the population required for maximal reduction of HIV incidence. In the presence of infant MC, adolescent and adult MC would evolve into a “catch-up” campaign that would be needed at the start of the program but would eventually become superfluous.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has killed more than 25 million people since 1981 and more than 31 million people (22 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone) are now infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS and no vaccine against HIV infection. Consequently, prevention of HIV transmission is extremely important. HIV is most often spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner. Individuals can reduce their risk of HIV infection, therefore, by abstaining from sex, by having one or a few sexual partners, and by always using a male or female condom. In addition, male circumcision—the removal of the foreskin, the loose fold of skin that covers the head of penis—can halve HIV transmission rates to men resulting from sex with women. Thus, as part of its HIV prevention strategy, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that male circumcision programs be scaled up in countries where there is a generalized HIV epidemic and where few men are circumcised.
Why Was This Study Done?
One such country is Rwanda. Here, 3% of the adult population is infected with HIV but only 15% of men are circumcised—worldwide, about 30% of men are circumcised. Demand for circumcision is increasing in Rwanda but, before policy makers introduce a country-wide male circumcision program, they need to identify the most cost-effective way to increase circumcision rates. In particular, they need to decide the age at which circumcision should be offered. Circumcision soon after birth (neonatal circumcision) is quick and simple and rarely causes any complications. Circumcision of adolescents and adults is more complex and has a higher complication rate. Although several studies have investigated the cost-effectiveness (the balance between the clinical and financial costs of a medical intervention and its benefits) of circumcision in adult men, little is known about its cost-effectiveness in newborn boys. In this study, which is one of several studies on male circumcision being organized by the National AIDS Control Commission in Rwanda, the researchers model the cost-effectiveness of circumcision at different ages.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a simple cost-effectiveness model and applied it to three hypothetical groups of Rwandans: newborn boys, adolescent boys, and adult men. For their model, the researchers calculated the effectiveness of male circumcision (the number of HIV infections averted) by estimating the reduction in the annual number of new HIV infections over time. They obtained estimates of the costs of circumcision (including the costs of consumables, staff time, and treatment of complications) from health care providers and adjusted these costs for the money saved through not needing to treat HIV in males in whom circumcision prevented infection. Using their model, the researchers estimate that each neonatal male circumcision would cost US$15 whereas each adolescent or adult male circumcision would cost US$59. Neonatal male circumcision, they report, would be cost-saving. That is, over a lifetime, neonatal male circumcision would save more money than it costs. Finally, using the WHO definition of cost-effectiveness (for a cost-effective intervention, the additional cost incurred to gain one year of life must be less than a country's per capita gross domestic product), the researchers estimate that, although adolescent circumcision would be highly cost-effective, circumcision of adult men would only be potentially cost-effective (but would likely prove cost-effective if the additional infections that would occur from men to their partners without a circumcision program were also taken into account).
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all modeling studies, the accuracy of these findings depends on the many assumptions included in the model. However, the findings suggest that male circumcision for infants for the prevention of HIV infection later in life is highly cost-effective and likely to be cost-saving and that circumcision for adolescents is cost-effective. The researchers suggest, therefore, that policy makers in Rwanda and in countries with similar HIV infection and circumcision rates should scale up male circumcision programs across all age groups, with high priority being given to the very young. If infants are routinely circumcised, they suggest, circumcision of adolescent and adult males would become a “catch-up” campaign that would be needed at the start of the program but that would become superfluous over time. Such an approach would represent a switch from managing the HIV epidemic as an emergency towards focusing on sustainable, long-term solutions to this major public-health problem.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000211.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Seth Kalichman
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
Information is available from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on HIV infection and AIDS and on male circumcision in relation to HIV and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and AIDS in Africa, and on circumcision and HIV (some information in English and Spanish)
More information about male circumcision is available from the Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision
The National AIDS Control Commission of Rwanda provides detailed information about HIV/AIDS in Rwanda (in English and French)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000211
PMCID: PMC2808207  PMID: 20098721
2.  Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision: Modeling the Impact and Cost of Expanding Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention in Eastern and Southern Africa 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(11):e1001132.
Emmanuel Njeuhmeli and colleagues estimate the impact and cost of scaling up adult medical male circumcision in 13 priority countries in eastern and southern Africa, finding that reaching 80% coverage and maintaining it until 2025 would avert 3.36 million new HIV infections.
Background
There is strong evidence showing that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) reduces HIV incidence in men. To inform the VMMC policies and goals of 13 priority countries in eastern and southern Africa, we estimate the impact and cost of scaling up adult VMMC using updated, country-specific data.
Methods and Findings
We use the Decision Makers' Program Planning Tool (DMPPT) to model the impact and cost of scaling up adult VMMC in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Nyanza Province in Kenya. We use epidemiologic and demographic data from recent household surveys for each country. The cost of VMMC ranges from US$65.85 to US$95.15 per VMMC performed, based on a cost assessment of VMMC services aligned with the World Health Organization's considerations of models for optimizing volume and efficiencies. Results from the DMPPT models suggest that scaling up adult VMMC to reach 80% coverage in the 13 countries by 2015 would entail performing 20.34 million circumcisions between 2011 and 2015 and an additional 8.42 million between 2016 and 2025 (to maintain the 80% coverage). Such a scale-up would result in averting 3.36 million new HIV infections through 2025. In addition, while the model shows that this scale-up would cost a total of US$2 billion between 2011 and 2025, it would result in net savings (due to averted treatment and care costs) amounting to US$16.51 billion.
Conclusions
This study suggests that rapid scale-up of VMMC in eastern and southern Africa is warranted based on the likely impact on the region's HIV epidemics and net savings. Scaling up of safe VMMC in eastern and southern Africa will lead to a substantial reduction in HIV infections in the countries and lower health system costs through averted HIV care costs.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, about 2.5 million people (mainly in sub-Saharan Africa) become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Consequently, prevention of HIV transmission is very important. Because the most common HIV transmission route is through unprotected sex with an infected partner, individuals can reduce their risk of HIV infection by abstaining from sex, by having only one or a few partners, and by using male or female condoms. There is also strong evidence that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC)—the removal of the foreskin, the loose fold of skin that covers the head of the penis—reduces the heterosexual acquisition of HIV in men by about 60%. In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommended that VMMC should be offered to men as part of comprehensive HIV risk reduction programs in settings with generalized HIV epidemics and low levels of male circumcision. They also prioritized 13 countries in eastern and southern Africa for VMMC program scale-up.
Why Was This Study Done?
The impact of VMMC scale-up in terms of HIV infections and AIDS deaths averted (epidemiologic impact) is expected to be large, and the intervention should also reduce the costs associated with the treatment, care, and support of infected individuals. However, VMMC scale-up will require substantial funding and considerable effort by countries—many of which have weak health systems and limited resources—to train personnel, equip facilities, and provide the necessary commodities. To support planning for VMMC scale-up, the United States Agency for International Development Health Policy Initiative has collaborated with UNAIDS to develop the Decision Makers' Program Planning Tool (DMPPT), a mathematical model that allows analysts and decision makers to estimate the epidemiologic impact and cost of alternative VMMC scale-up programs. In this study, the researchers use DMPPT to estimate the impact and cost of scaling up adult VMMC in the 13 priority countries in eastern and southern Africa.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers derived VMMC unit costs for each priority country based on a cost assessment undertaken in Zimbabwe, one of the first countries to scale up VMMC services using WHO's “Models for Optimizing Volume and Efficiencies” (MOVE) guidelines. They fed these costs and recent epidemiologic data (including HIV infection rates and the effectiveness of VMMC in preventing HIV transmission) and demographic data (including the adult population size and pre-scale-up male circumcision prevalence) collected in each country into the DMPPT, together with information on the lifetime costs of HIV treatment. Results from running the DMPPT model suggest that scaling up adult VMMC to reach 80% coverage in the 13 priority countries by 2015 would require 20.33 million circumcisions to be completed between 2011 and 2015. To maintain this coverage, a further 8.42 million circumcisions would be required between 2016 and 2025. Such a scale-up would avert 3.36 million new HIV infections through 2025 and would cost US$2,000,000,000 between 2011 and 2025. However, it would result in net savings (because of averted treatment and care costs) of US$16,510,000,000.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that rapid VMMC scale-up in eastern and southern Africa is warranted, given its likely impact on the region's HIV epidemics and the resultant cost savings. However, the accuracy of these findings depends on the assumptions built into the DMPPT and on the data fed into it. For example, there could be risk behavior changes after circumcision. That is, risky sexual behaviors may increase in men who have been circumcised. However, the researchers show that, except in Rwanda, post-circumcision risk behavior change is unlikely to completely reverse the benefits of VMMC. These modeling results also assume that men seeking out VMMC services are typical of the general male population, but if they are actually at unusually low risk of HIV infection, then the benefits of VMMC reported here are likely to be overestimated. Finally, these findings assume 80% VMMC coverage. This may be optimistic, although results from Kenya indicate that this target is achievable. Thus, countries and their international partners must allocate sufficient resources to VMMC scale-up to achieve high coverage rates if they are to take full advantage of the benefits predicted here for VMMC scale-up.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001132.
This study is part of a PLoS Collection of articles on http://www.ploscollections.org/VMMC2011 and is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Review Article by Hankins et al. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001127)
Information is available from WHO, UNAIDS, and PEPFAR on all aspects of HIV/AIDS; the 2011WHO/UNAIDS progress report on VMMC scale-up in the 13 priority countries is available
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and information on male circumcision for the prevention of HIV transmission
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on all aspects of HIV prevention, and on HIV/AIDS in Africa (in English and Spanish)
The Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision, a resource provided by WHO, UNAIDS, and other international bodies, provides information and tools for VMMC policy development and program implementation, including information on the DMPPT and the MOVE guidance
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001132
PMCID: PMC3226464  PMID: 22140367
3.  Cost-Effectiveness of Newborn Circumcision in Reducing Lifetime HIV Risk among U.S. Males 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(1):e8723.
Background
HIV incidence was substantially lower among circumcised versus uncircumcised heterosexual African men in three clinical trials. Based on those findings, we modeled the potential effect of newborn male circumcision on a U.S. male's lifetime risk of HIV, including associated costs and quality-adjusted life-years saved.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Given published estimates of U.S. males' lifetime HIV risk, we calculated the fraction of lifetime risk attributable to heterosexual behavior from 2005–2006 HIV surveillance data. We assumed 60% efficacy of circumcision in reducing heterosexually-acquired HIV over a lifetime, and varied efficacy in sensitivity analyses. We calculated differences in lifetime HIV risk, expected HIV treatment costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) among circumcised versus uncircumcised males. The main outcome measure was cost per HIV-related QALY saved. Circumcision reduced the lifetime HIV risk among all males by 15.7% in the base case analysis, ranging from 7.9% for white males to 20.9% for black males. Newborn circumcision was a cost-saving HIV prevention intervention for all, black and Hispanic males. The net cost of newborn circumcision per QALY saved was $87,792 for white males. Results were most sensitive to the discount rate, and circumcision efficacy and cost.
Conclusions/Significance
Newborn circumcision resulted in lower expected HIV-related treatment costs and a slight increase in QALYs. It reduced the 1.87% lifetime risk of HIV among all males by about 16%. The effect varied substantially by race and ethnicity. Racial and ethnic groups who could benefit the most from circumcision may have least access to it due to insurance coverage and state Medicaid policies, and these financial barriers should be addressed. More data on the long-term protective effect of circumcision on heterosexual males as well as on its efficacy in preventing HIV among MSM would be useful.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008723
PMCID: PMC2807456  PMID: 20090910
4.  Cost-Effectiveness of Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention in a South African Setting  
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(12):e517.
Background
Consistent with observational studies, a randomized controlled intervention trial of adult male circumcision (MC) conducted in the general population in Orange Farm (OF) (Gauteng Province, South Africa) demonstrated a protective effect against HIV acquisition of 60%. The objective of this study is to present the first cost-effectiveness analysis of the use of MC as an intervention to reduce the spread of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods and Findings
Cost-effectiveness was modeled for 1,000 MCs done within a general adult male population. Intervention costs included performing MC and treatment of adverse events. HIV prevalence was estimated from published estimates and incidence among susceptible subjects calculated assuming a steady-state epidemic. Effectiveness was defined as the number of HIV infections averted (HIA), which was estimated by dynamically projecting over 20 years the reduction in HIV incidence observed in the OF trial, including secondary transmission to women. Net savings were calculated with adjustment for the averted lifetime duration cost of HIV treatment. Sensitivity analyses examined the effects of input uncertainty and program coverage. All results were discounted to the present at 3% per year.
For Gauteng Province, assuming full coverage of the MC intervention, with a 2005 adult male prevalence of 25.6%, 1,000 circumcisions would avert an estimated 308 (80% CI 189–428) infections over 20 years. The cost is $181 (80% CI $117–$306) per HIA, and net savings are $2.4 million (80% CI $1.3 million to $3.6 million). Cost-effectiveness is sensitive to the costs of MC and of averted HIV treatment, the protective effect of MC, and HIV prevalence. With an HIV prevalence of 8.4%, the cost per HIA is $551 (80% CI $344–$1,071) and net savings are $753,000 (80% CI $0.3 million to $1.2 million). Cost-effectiveness improves by less than 10% when MC intervention coverage is 50% of full coverage.
Conclusions
In settings in sub-Saharan Africa with high or moderate HIV prevalence among the general population, adult MC is likely to be a cost-effective HIV prevention strategy, even when it has a low coverage. MC generates large net savings after adjustment for averted HIV medical costs.
Based on data from a trial of adult male circumcision to reduce the spread of HIV, a modeling study shows this intervention to be a cost-effective strategy.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Preventing the spread of HIV is an enormous challenge of great importance worldwide. In 2005, HIV/AIDS was responsible for around 3 million deaths, of which approximately one-third were in sub-Saharan Africa. HIV is spread from one person to another in three main ways: through unprotected sex; through contaminated blood or blood products (for example when shared needles are used); and from mother to child (during pregnancy, labor, and breastfeeding). Many strategies for preventing HIV focus on reducing risky behaviors. For example, condoms used correctly are effective at preventing HIV infection, and many countries now aim to promote condom use, together with other approaches that will reduce the risk of getting HIV. However, it is unlikely that strategies involving large-scale changes in behavior will ever be completely effective. Recently, much attention has focused on the possibility that circumcision might provide men with some protection against getting HIV. The results of a trial carried out in South Africa, the ANRS 1265 trial (published in PLoS Medicine in October 2005) seem to support this theory, and additional trials are being carried out in Kenya and Uganda. The results from these further trials will help determine whether, and to what extent, the effect of circumcision seen in the South African trial is true more generally.
Why Was This Study Done?
The investigators who had carried out the South African circumcision trial wanted to find out how the economic aspects of this prevention strategy would compare with other strategies for prevention of HIV. Specifically, they wanted to know how much male circumcision would cost overall, per HIV infection prevented, as compared with the cost of other strategies. They also wanted to understand whether circumcision would be “cost-saving.” In other words, would the cost of performing the operation (together with the cost of treating any adverse effects suffered by the men who were circumcised) be offset by the costs of treatment for HIV infections that the intervention prevented? Getting this information is crucial before health policy makers can decide what strategies for preventing HIV are most appropriate for their country.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In this study, the researchers carried out a set of mathematical calculations, using the results from the ANRS 1265 trial, together with some other data and background assumptions. Their model was based on a hypothetical group of 1,000 men, all of whom would be circumcised. The researchers calculated that in such a hypothetical group, the cost of providing male circumcision, per HIV infection prevented, would be around $180. Overall, this procedure seemed to be cost-saving when the cost of HIV treatment was also factored in; around $2.4 million would be saved for the 1,000 men circumcised.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that, assuming the results of the South African trial are generally true, male circumcision would reduce the cost of health care in South Africa, mainly through savings on the cost of HIV treatment. The overall cost of male circumcision, per HIV infection prevented, is reasonable as compared to the costs of other strategies for prevention of HIV. There would also be implications for HIV prevention programs in other African countries. However, these estimates are based on the data from one trial only. The World Health Organization does not currently recommend the promotion of male circumcision for prevention of HIV. Meanwhile, proven strategies for preventing HIV exist, and more information is available from the links below.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030517.
The World Health Organization has an HIV/AIDS program site providing comprehensive information on the HIV/AIDS epidemic worldwide
General information and resources from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on preventing HIV/AIDS
Fact sheet from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS about male circumcision and HIV
Results of the ANRS 1265 Trial evaluating male circumcision for HIV prevention were published in PLoS Medicine in October 2005; two related “Perspective” articles were also published in the same issue by Nandi Siegfried and Peter Cleaton-Jones
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030517
PMCID: PMC1716193  PMID: 17194197
5.  Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision: Logistics, Commodities, and Waste Management Requirements for Scale-Up of Services 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(11):e1001128.
Dianna Edgil and colleagues evaluate the supply chain and waste management costs needed to deliver mobile medical male circumcision services to 152,000 men in Swaziland, finding that per-procedure costs almost double when these factors are taken into account.
Background
The global HIV prevention community is implementing voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) programs across eastern and southern Africa, with a goal of reaching 80% coverage in adult males by 2015. Successful implementation will depend on the accessibility of commodities essential for VMMC programming and the appropriate allocation of resources to support the VMMC supply chain. For this, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, has developed a standard list of commodities for VMMC programs.
Methods and Findings
This list of commodities was used to inform program planning for a 1-y program to circumcise 152,000 adult men in Swaziland. During this process, additional key commodities were identified, expanding the standard list to include commodities for waste management, HIV counseling and testing, and the treatment of sexually transmitted infections.
The approximate costs for the procurement of commodities, management of a supply chain, and waste disposal, were determined for the VMMC program in Swaziland using current market prices of goods and services.
Previous costing studies of VMMC programs did not capture supply chain costs, nor the full range of commodities needed for VMMC program implementation or waste management. Our calculations indicate that depending upon the volume of services provided, supply chain and waste management, including commodities and associated labor, contribute between US$58.92 and US$73.57 to the cost of performing one adult male circumcision in Swaziland.
Conclusions
Experience with the VMMC program in Swaziland indicates that supply chain and waste management add approximately US$60 per circumcision, nearly doubling the total per procedure cost estimated previously; these additional costs are used to inform the estimate of per procedure costs modeled by Njeuhmeli et al. in “Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision: Modeling the Impact and Cost of Expanding Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention in Eastern and Southern Africa.” Program planners and policy makers should consider the significant contribution of supply chain and waste management to VMMC program costs as they determine future resource needs for VMMC programs.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors’ Summary
Background
About 33 million people (including 22.5 million in sub-Saharan Africa) are currently infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Although antiretroviral drugs keep HIV in check, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Consequently, prevention of HIV transmission is extremely important. Because HIV is usually spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner, individuals can reduce their risk of becoming infected with HIV by abstaining from sex, by having only one or a few partners, and by always using male or female condoms. In addition, trials in sub-Saharan Africa have shown that male circumcision—the removal of the foreskin, the loose fold of skin that covers the head of the penis—reduces the risk of HIV infection in men by 60%. In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommended that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) should be part of HIV prevention programs in regions with a generalized HIV epidemic and a low level of male circumcision. Together with the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), WHO, and UNAIDS also prioritized 14 countries in eastern and southern Africa for VMMC program scale-up. Mathematical models suggest that, if 80% VMMC coverage is reached by 2015 (which will entail performing 20.33 million circumcisions between 2011 and 2015) and sustained thereafter, VMMC programs in these priority countries will avert more than 4 million HIV infections among adults between 2009 and 2025.
Why Was This Study Done?
Successful VMMC scale-up will depend on the commodities that are essential for VMMC services being accessible and on the appropriate allocation of resources to support VMMC programs (which, in addition to circumcision, include HIV testing and counseling, sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment, condom provision and promotion, and counseling on risk reduction and safer sex). To help program planners and policy makers, costing studies have been undertaken in several African countries. These studies considered the costs of a standard list of commodities prepared by PEPFAR, WHO, and UNAIDS and estimated that, on average, one male circumcision costs about US$53. However, these studies did not include the costs of the supply chain, waste management, HIV counseling and testing, treatment of sexually transmitted infections, or the temporary infrastructure needed to deliver mobile VMMC services. Here, the researchers estimate these hitherto ignored costs for the Accelerated Saturation Initiative (ASI; Soka Uncobe [Circumcise and Conquer] in SiSwati), a one-year program to circumcise 152,000 men in Swaziland.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used current market prices of goods and services to calculate the fixed and variable costs of various aspects of the VMMC commodity supply chain such as procurement, international freight, in-country distribution to service delivery sites, and warehousing, and of various aspects of waste management, such as the transportation of waste to incinerators and the maintenance of incinerators. They also estimated the staffing costs of supply chain and waste management services. From these component costs, the researchers estimate that, overall, the costs of supply chain and waste management, including procurement of commodities and associated labor, add US$58.92 if 152,000 men are circumcised and US$73.57 if 75,000 men are circumcised to the previously estimated cost of performing one adult male circumcision through the Swaziland ASI VMMC program.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study suggests that, for the Swaziland ASI VMMC program, procurement, supply chain, and waste management costs nearly double the previously estimated cost per VMMC procedure. That is, the supply chain and waste management costs for this program are nearly as high as the costs of the equipment and staff needed to do the circumcisions. Because these costs were not taken into account during the planning stages of Swaziland’s ASI VMMC program, the initial needs assessment for this program underestimated the actual costs by about US$8 million. Although the magnitude of this underestimate cannot be generalized to other settings, this analysis emphasizes the importance of considering the contribution of supply chain and waste management to costs when determining the future resource needs of VMMC programs. Moreover, it provides a framework to help program planners and policy makers estimate the costs involved in the scale-up of VMMC programs in other priority countries.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001128.
This study is part of a PLoS collection of articles on VMMC (http://www.ploscollections.org/VMMC2011) and is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Review Article by Hankins et al. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001127).
Information is available from WHO, UNAIDS, and PEPFAR on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and information on male circumcision for the prevention of HIV transmission
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on all aspects of HIV prevention, and on HIV/AIDS in Africa and in Swaziland (in English and Spanish)
The Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision, a resource provided by WHO, UNAIDS, and other international bodies, provides information and tools for VMMC policy development and program implementation
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001128
PMCID: PMC3226460  PMID: 22140363
6.  Association of the ANRS-12126 Male Circumcision Project with HIV Levels among Men in a South African Township: Evaluation of Effectiveness using Cross-sectional Surveys 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(9):e1001509.
Betran Auvert and colleagues report findings from the Bophelo Pele project, a community-based HIV prevention intervention offering free voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), that demonstrate an association between VMMC roll-out and a reduction in the incidence and prevalence of HIV in the community.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Randomized controlled trials have shown that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) reduces HIV infection by 50% to 60% in sub-Saharan African populations; however, little is known about the population-level effect of adult male circumcision (MC) as an HIV prevention method. We assessed the effectiveness of VMMC roll-out on the levels of HIV in the South African township of Orange Farm where the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the effect of VMMC on HIV acquisition was conducted in 2002–2005.
Methods and Findings
The Bophelo Pele project is a community-based campaign against HIV, which includes the roll-out of free VMMC. A baseline cross-sectional biomedical survey was conducted in 2007–2008 among a random sample of 1,998 men aged 15 to 49 (survey response rate 80.7%). In 2010–2011, we conducted a follow-up random survey among 3,338 men aged 15 to 49 (survey response rate 79.6%) to evaluate the project. Participants were interviewed, blood samples were collected and tested for HIV and recent HIV infection (using the BED HIV incidence assay), and MC status was assessed through a clinical examination. Data were analyzed using multivariate and propensity statistical methods.
Owing to the VMMCs performed in the context of the RCT and the Bophelo Pele project, the prevalence rate of adult MC increased from 0.12 (95% CI 0.10–0.14) to 0.53 (95% CI 0.51–0.55). Without these VMMCs, the HIV prevalence rate in 2010–2011 would have been 19% (95% CI 12%–26%) higher (0.147 instead of 0.123).
When comparing circumcised and uncircumcised men, no association of MC status with sexual behavior was detected. Among circumcised and uncircumcised men, the proportion consistently using condoms with non-spousal partners in the past 12 months was 44.0% (95% CI 41.7%–46.5%) versus 45.4% (95% CI 42.2%–48.6%) with weighted prevalence rate ratio (wPRR) = 0.94 (95% CI 0.85–1.03). The proportion having two or more non-spousal partners was 50.4% (95% CI 47.9%–52.9%) versus 44.2% (95% CI 41.3%–46.9%) with wPRR = 1.03 (95% CI 0.95–1.10).
We found a reduction of BED-estimated HIV incidence rate ranging from 57% (95% CI 29%–76%) to 61% (95% CI 14%–83%) among circumcised men in comparison with uncircumcised men.
Conclusions
Findings suggest that the roll-out of VMMC in Orange Farm is associated with a significant reduction of HIV levels in the community. The main limitation of the study is that it was not randomized and cannot prove a causal association. The roll-out of VMMC among adults in sub-Saharan Africa should be an international priority and needs to be accelerated to effectively combat the spread of HIV.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year about 2.2 million people (mostly in sub-Saharan Africa) become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Consequently, prevention of HIV transmission is extremely important. Because HIV is most often spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner, individuals can reduce their risk of HIV infection by abstaining from sex, by having only one or a few sexual partners, and by always using a male or female condom. The results of three randomized controlled trials conducted in sub-Saharan Africa also suggest that voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC)—the removal of the foreskin, a loose fold of skin that covers the head of the penis—can reduce the heterosexual acquisition of HIV in men by 50%–60%. In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommended that VMMC should be offered as part of comprehensive HIV risk reduction programs in settings with generalized HIV epidemics and low levels of male circumcision and prioritized 14 east and southern African countries for VMMC roll-out.
Why Was This Study Done?
To date, about 3 million VMMCs have been performed for HIV prevention but it is not known whether “real world” VMMC roll-out programs will replicate the promising results obtained in the earlier trials. Indeed, there are fears that “risk compensation” (an increase in risky sexual behaviors after VMMC) might lead to increased HIV transmission in regions where VMMC is rolled out. In this study, the researchers use sequential cross-sectional surveys (studies that collect data from a group of people at a single time point) to investigate HIV infection levels in men in Orange Farm, a township in South Africa where one of the randomized controlled trials of VMMC was undertaken. The surveys were conducted before and after implementation of the Bophelo Pele project, a community-based campaign against HIV that was initiated in 2008 and that includes free VMMC.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers asked a random sample of nearly 2,000 men aged 15–49 years about their sexual behavior (for example, how many non-spousal partners they had had over the past year), and their intention to become circumcised if uncircumcised in a baseline survey in 2007–2008. The study participants were also offered HIV counseling and testing (including a test that indicated whether the participant had recently become HIV positive) and were examined to see whether they were already circumcised. A similar follow-up survey was conducted in 2010–2011 in which more than 3,000 men were invited to take part. At baseline, 12% of the men surveyed had been circumcised (a prevalence of circumcision of 12%) whereas in the follow-up survey, the overall prevalence of circumcision and the prevalence of circumcision among 15–29 year-olds (an important target group for VMMC roll-out) were 53% and 58%, respectively. The overall HIV prevalence at follow-up was 12% and the researchers estimated that without the VMMCs performed during the Bophelo Pele project and the preceding randomized control trial the prevalence of HIV among men living in Orange Farm would have been 15% in 2011. Using various cut-off values and corrections for a laboratory-based test to measure recent HIV infections, the researchers reported a reduction in the rate of new HIV infections (incidence rate) ranging from 57% to 61% among circumcised men in comparison with uncircumcised men. Importantly, there was no evidence of an association between circumcision status and risky sexual behavior but circumcision was associated with a reduction in the number of men who had recently become HIV positive.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that VMMC roll out in Orange Farm is associated with a reduction in HIV infection levels in the community and that circumcision is not associated with changes in sexual behavior that might affect HIV infection rates. They also suggest that VMMC roll-out is associated with a rapid uptake of VMMC, especially among young men, in an African community where male circumcision is not a social norm. Because this study is not a randomized controlled trial, it cannot establish cause and effect. Thus, although the observed reduction in HIV prevalence among circumcised men compared to uncircumcised men suggests that circumcision provided protection against HIV acquisition within the study population, the results do not conclusively prove this. The findings of this study nevertheless support the continuation and acceleration of the roll-out of adult VMMC in Africa although further studies are needed to show whether VMMC roll-out is also associated with a reduction in HIV acquisition among women and among uncircumcised men.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001509.
Information and resources on male circumcision for HIV prevention are available
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and information on male circumcision for the prevention of HIV transmission
Information is available from WHO and UNAIDS on all aspects of HIV/AIDS; the Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision, a resource provided by WHO, UNAIDS and other international bodies, provides information and tools for VMMC policy development and program implementation; a report entitled Progress in scaling up voluntary medical male circumcision for HIV prevention in East and Southern Africa, January-December 2011 is available
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and AIDS in South Africa, on HIV prevention, and on circumcision and HIV (in English and Spanish)
A 2010 PLOS Medicine Research Article by Pascale Lissouba et al. provides more information about the Bophelo Pele project
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, through Nam/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline; a personal story about circumcision in Zimbabwe is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001509
PMCID: PMC3760784  PMID: 24019763
7.  The Potential Impact of Male Circumcision on HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(7):e262.
Background
A randomized controlled trial (RCT) has shown that male circumcision (MC) reduces sexual transmission of HIV from women to men by 60% (32%−76%; 95% CI) offering an intervention of proven efficacy for reducing the sexual spread of HIV. We explore the implications of this finding for the promotion of MC as a public health intervention to control HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods and Findings
Using dynamical simulation models we consider the impact of MC on the relative prevalence of HIV in men and women and in circumcised and uncircumcised men. Using country level data on HIV prevalence and MC, we estimate the impact of increasing MC coverage on HIV incidence, HIV prevalence, and HIV-related deaths over the next ten, twenty, and thirty years in sub-Saharan Africa. Assuming that full coverage of MC is achieved over the next ten years, we consider three scenarios in which the reduction in transmission is given by the best estimate and the upper and lower 95% confidence limits of the reduction in transmission observed in the RCT.
MC could avert 2.0 (1.1−3.8) million new HIV infections and 0.3 (0.1−0.5) million deaths over the next ten years in sub-Saharan Africa. In the ten years after that, it could avert a further 3.7 (1.9−7.5) million new HIV infections and 2.7 (1.5−5.3) million deaths, with about one quarter of all the incident cases prevented and the deaths averted occurring in South Africa. We show that a) MC will increase the proportion of infected people who are women from about 52% to 58%; b) where there is homogenous mixing but not all men are circumcised, the prevalence of infection in circumcised men is likely to be about 80% of that in uncircumcised men; c) MC is equivalent to an intervention, such as a vaccine or increased condom use, that reduces transmission in both directions by 37%.
Conclusions
This analysis is based on the result of just one RCT, but if the results of that trial are confirmed we suggest that MC could substantially reduce the burden of HIV in Africa, especially in southern Africa where the prevalence of MC is low and the prevalence of HIV is high. While the protective benefit to HIV-negative men will be immediate, the full impact of MC on HIV-related illness and death will only be apparent in ten to twenty years.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Africa is the continent most affected by HIV/AIDS, and it is important to consider all possible means of reducing the spread of HIV infection. Male circumcision has been a tradition in many parts of Africa for hundreds of years. Boys who are circumcised usually have it done in late childhood or their early teenage years. It was noticed some years ago that those African groups in which circumcision is routinely done on all boys have fewer cases of HIV/AIDS than are found in groups where circumcision is not a tradition. This finding gave rise to the idea that circumcision might give a degree of protection against HIV, though it was recognised that some other, unknown difference between these groups of people might actually be the important factor. In 2005 a trial was reported from the Orange Farm area of South Africa, in which uncircumcised men were offered the chance to be circumcised. The men who agreed were divided at random into those who had the operation straightaway and those who were to have it two years later. During the next 18 months, the number of new cases of HIV infection was much higher amongst the men who had not been circumcised. Circumcision did therefore seem to offer a measure of protection against infection. This protective effect was estimated at being about 60%. Similar trials are under way in other parts of Africa but there are no results available from them at this stage.
Why Was This Study Done?
If the level of effectiveness of circumcision suggested by the South African trial is correct, then, as one part of a range of measures to reduce the spread of HIV, it would seem logical to encourage the practice of male circumcision. It would be useful to have an estimate of just how many new cases could be prevented and how many lives would be saved by the promotion of male circumcision. Calculations would have to allow for various factors, such as the present level of HIV infection, which varies from one country to another, and the fact that many men are already circumcised.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
This research did not involve collecting any new data. The researchers used mathematical modelling to make calculations. They based their model on data from the Orange Farm trial and on information from various sub-Saharan African countries on the proportion of men who are circumcised and the proportion who are HIV-positive. They made the assumption that if circumcision is intensively promoted, all men in those countries will be circumcised in 10 years time. They calculated the number of new cases that would be prevented and the lives that would be saved in ten years, 20 years, and 30 years time. Their best estimate is that with the promotion of male circumcision, two million cases and 0.3 million deaths will be avoided in ten years time. Over the following ten years, according to the researchers' model, a further 3.7 million cases and 2.7 million deaths would be prevented. Most of the initial impact would be in men, but the reduction in the number of HIV-positive men would in time also lower the risk of women becoming infected. Overall, on the basis of these calculations, male circumcision would reduce the rate of infections by about 37%—both female-to-male and male-to-female transmission. The size of the impact would vary from one country to another; it would be greatest in southern Africa where HIV infection rates are high and circumcision rates relatively low compared with the rest of sub-Saharan Africa.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Male circumcision alone cannot bring the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa under control. Even circumcised men can become infected, though their risk of doing so is much lower. However, the researchers call for the promotion of male circumcision to become a major part of AIDS control programmes. Their results are based on the findings of just one study (the Orange Farm trial), and it will be important to repeat the calculations when further studies have been completed.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030262:
• The Orange Farm trial was published in PLoS Medicine. Several articles discussing the trial were also published in the same issue of the journal
• The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has information about the state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and prevention strategies worldwide. It produces an annual report and has documents on a wide range of topics
•  AEGIS is the world's largest searchable database on HIV and AIDS.
• Many organizations provide information on AIDS prevention—for example, the Terrence Higgins Trust
• The World Bank's Global HIV/AIDS Program has a report about male circumcision and HIV infection
A modelling study, based on one trial plus national figures for current prevalence of HIV and of male circumcision (MC), found increasing MC in Africa could produce major fall in HIV prevalence in 10-12 years.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030262
PMCID: PMC1489185  PMID: 16822094
8.  A Model for the Roll-Out of Comprehensive Adult Male Circumcision Services in African Low-Income Settings of High HIV Incidence: The ANRS 12126 Bophelo Pele Project 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(7):e1000309.
Bertrand Auvert and colleagues describe the large-scale roll-out of adult male circumcision through a program in South Africa.
Background
World Health Organization (WHO)/Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) has recommended adult male circumcision (AMC) for the prevention of heterosexually acquired HIV infection in men from communities where HIV is hyperendemic and AMC prevalence is low. The objective of this study was to investigate the feasibility of the roll-out of medicalized AMC according to UNAIDS/WHO operational guidelines in a targeted African setting.
Methods and Findings
The ANRS 12126 “Bophelo Pele” project was implemented in 2008 in the township of Orange Farm (South Africa). It became functional in 5 mo once local and ethical authorizations were obtained. Project activities involved community mobilization and outreach, as well as communication approaches aimed at both men and women incorporating broader HIV prevention strategies and promoting sexual health. Free medicalized AMC was offered to male residents aged 15 y and over at the project's main center, which had been designed for low-income settings. Through the establishment of an innovative surgical organization, up to 150 AMCs under local anesthesia, with sterilized circumcision disposable kits and electrocautery, could be performed per day by three task-sharing teams of one medical circumciser and five nurses. Community support for the project was high. As of November 2009, 14,011 men had been circumcised, averaging 740 per month in the past 12 mo, and 27.5% of project participants agreed to be tested for HIV. The rate of adverse events, none of which resulted in permanent damage or death, was 1.8%. Most of the men surveyed (92%) rated the services provided positively. An estimated 39.1% of adult uncircumcised male residents have undergone surgery and uptake is steadily increasing.
Conclusion
This study demonstrates that a quality AMC roll-out adapted to African low-income settings is feasible and can be implemented quickly and safely according to international guidelines. The project can be a model for the scale-up of comprehensive AMC services, which could be tailored for other rural and urban communities of high HIV prevalence and low AMC rates in Eastern and Southern Africa.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has killed about 25 million people since 1981, and more than 30 million people (22 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone) are now infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Consequently, prevention of HIV infection is extremely important. Because HIV is most often spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner, individuals can reduce their risk of HIV infection by abstaining from sex, by having one or a few partners, and by always using a male or female condom. In addition, three trials in sub-Saharan Africa recently reported that medicalized adult male circumcision (AMC)—the surgical removal of the foreskin, a loose fold of skin that covers the head of the penis—can reduce HIV transmission rates in men by more than a half. Thus, AMC delivered as a catch-up campaign—in the long-term, circumcision of male infants is likely to be a more sustainable strategy—has the potential to reduce the prevalence of HIV (the proportion of the population infected with HIV) in sub-Saharan Africa.
Why Was This Study Done?
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) now recommend that AMC programs should be rolled-out wherever there is a generalized HIV epidemic and few men are circumcised. Accordingly, these organizations have defined a minimum package of AMC services and have issued guidelines and tools designed to engage communities in the roll-out and to ensure that appropriate AMC counseling and surgical facilities are available. But is rapid AMC roll-out feasible in real-life settings? Here, the researchers try to find out by studying the “Bophelo Pele” (Health First) project. This project, which follows the WHO/UNAIDS guidelines for AMC, aims to offer free, safe AMC services to all men aged 15 years or more living in the Orange Farm township in South Africa as part of a community-based intervention against HIV. Orange Farm is in a low-income region of South Africa where HIV prevalence is 15.2% and AMC prevalence is about 25%.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Before the Bophelo Pele project started in January 2008, the researchers consulted the community about the implementation of AMC, helped to create a community advisory board, organized community workshops to discuss the project, and surveyed people's knowledge about AMC and willingness to undergo AMC. These activities indicated a high level of community support for the project and a high level of willingness among men to undergo AMC. Once the project started, the researchers used multiple communication channels to tell the Orange Farm residents about AMC and broader HIV prevention strategies and provided eligible men with counseling about AMC and with voluntary HIV counseling and testing during the recruitment process. Three days after recruitment, eligible men were circumcised free-of-charge at the project's main center, where three teams of one medical circumciser and five nurses were able to complete up to 150 AMCs per day. By November 2009, 14,011 men had been circumcised (more than a third of the eligible men in the township), and AMC uptake was still increasing steadily. Nearly all the men circumcised over one 2-month period rated the AMC services positively in a survey and adverse effects (all mild) occurred after fewer than 1 in 50 circumcisions.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that the rapid roll-out of high-quality, free AMC as an intervention against HIV has been successful in the Orange Farm township. However, other findings highlight some of the challenges that face AMC roll-out. For example, only a quarter of the participants agreed to voluntary HIV counseling and testing, which is worrying because newly circumcised HIV-positive men have an increased risk of transmitting HIV if they resume sexual activity too soon after the operation. Similarly, only two-thirds of the participants returned for a check-up after circumcision; this proportion needs to be increased to ensure the safety and efficacy of AMC programs. Nevertheless, these findings and those from similar intervention programs in Kenya and Uganda indicate that AMC scale-up should be feasible, at least in the short term, as an HIV prevention strategy in low-income communities where there is a high HIV prevalence and a low AMC rate.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000309.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and AIDS in South Africa, and on circumcision and HIV (in English and Spanish)
More information about male circumcision is available from WHO and from the Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision, including a June 2010 report from WHO/UNAIDS entitled Progress in male circumcision scale-up: country implementation and research update
More information about the Bophelo Pele project is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000309
PMCID: PMC2907271  PMID: 20652013
9.  Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision: A Framework Analysis of Policy and Program Implementation in Eastern and Southern Africa 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(11):e1001133.
Kim Dickson and colleagues analyze the progress made by 13 priority countries toward scale-up of medical male circumcision programs, finding that the most successful programs involve country ownership of the program and have sustained leadership at all levels.
Background
Following confirmation of the effectiveness of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) for HIV prevention, the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS issued recommendations in 2007. Less than 5 y later, priority countries are at different stages of program scale-up. This paper analyzes the progress towards the scale-up of VMMC programs. It analyzes the adoption of VMMC as an additional HIV prevention strategy and explores the factors may have expedited or hindered the adoption of policies and initial program implementation in priority countries to date.
Methods and Findings
VMMCs performed in priority countries between 2008 and 2010 were recorded and used to classify countries into five adopter categories according to the Diffusion of Innovations framework. The main predictors of VMMC program adoption were determined and factors influencing subsequent scale-up explored. By the end of 2010, over 550,000 VMMCs had been performed, representing approximately 3% of the target coverage level in priority countries. The “early adopter” countries developed national VMMC policies and initiated VMMC program implementation soon after the release of the WHO recommendations. However, based on modeling using the Decision Makers' Program Planning Tool (DMPPT), only Kenya appears to be on track towards achievement of the DMPPT-estimated 80% coverage goal by 2015, having already achieved 61.5% of the DMPPT target. None of the other countries appear to be on track to achieve their targets. Potential predicators of early adoption of male circumcision programs include having a VMMC focal person, establishing a national policy, having an operational strategy, and the establishment of a pilot program.
Conclusions
Early adoption of VMMC policies did not necessarily result in rapid program scale-up. A key lesson is the importance of not only being ready to adopt a new intervention but also ensuring that factors critical to supporting and accelerating scale-up are incorporated into the program. The most successful program had country ownership and sustained leadership to translate research into a national policy and program.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, more than 2.5 million people (mostly in sub-Saharan Africa) become infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS and no HIV vaccine. Consequently, global efforts to combat HIV/AIDS are concentrating on evidence-based prevention strategies such as voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC). Circumcision—the removal of the foreskin, a loose fold of skin that covers the head of the penis—reduced HIV transmission through sexual intercourse by 60% in men in trials undertaken in sub-Saharan Africa, so in 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommended implementation of VMMC programs in countries with a generalized HIV epidemic and low levels of male circumcision. They also identified 13 countries in southern and eastern Africa as high priority countries for rapid VMMC scale-up. Mathematical modeling suggests that 20.3 million circumcisions by 2015 and 8.4 million circumcisions between 2016 and 2025 are needed to reach 80% VMMC coverage in these countries. If this coverage is achieved, it will avert about 3.4 million new HIV infections through 2025.
Why Was This Study Done?
Despite convincing evidence that VMMC is an effective, cost-saving intervention in the fight against HIV/AIDS, national VMMC scale-up programs in the priority countries are currently at very different stages. A better understanding of the challenges faced by these programs would help countries still in the early stages of VMMC scale-up implement their national programs and would facilitate implementation of other HIV prevention strategies. In this study, the researchers use the Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) theory to analyze progress towards VMMC scale-up in the priority countries and to identify the factors that may have expedited or hindered program scale-up. This theory seeks to explain how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures. It posits that a few individuals (“innovators”) adopt new ideas before they become mainstream ideas. A few more individuals—the “early adopters”—follow the innovators. The “early majority” is the next group to adopt the innovation, followed by the “late majority” and the “laggards.”
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used the annual number of VMMCs performed in the priority countries since 2008 to classify the countries into DOI adopter categories. They calculated a total scale-up score for each country based on six key elements of program scale-up (such as whether and when a VMMC policy had been approved). Finally, they analyzed the association between the DOI adopter category and the scores for the individual scale-up elements to determine which elements predict adoption and VMMC scale-up. By the end of 2010, about 560,000 VMMCs had been completed, less than 3% of the target coverage for the priority countries. Kenya, the only DOI innovator country, had completed nearly two-thirds of the VMMCs needed to reach its target coverage and was the only country on track to reach its target. The early adopters (South Africa, Zambia, and Swaziland) had initiated VMMC program scale-up soon after the release of the 2007 recommendations and had started VMMC scale-up pilot programs in 2008 but were far from achieving their VMMC targets. Having a VMMC focal person, establishing a national policy, having an operational strategy, and establishing a pilot program all predicted early adoption of VMMC scale-up.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that, three years after the WHO/UNAIDS recommendation to integrate VMMC into comprehensive HIV prevention programs, VMMC scale-up activities had been initiated in all the priority countries but that progress towards the 80% coverage target was variable and generally poor. Importantly, they show that early adoption of VMMC as a national program had not necessarily resulted in rapid program scale-up. Although these findings may not be generalizable to other settings, they suggest that countries endeavoring to scale up VMMC (or other HIV prevention strategies) must not only be ready to adopt VMMC but must also ensure that all the factors critical to supporting and accelerating scale-up are incorporated into the scale-up program. Finally, these findings show that the most successful national programs are those that involve country ownership of the program and that have sustained leadership at all levels to facilitate the translation of research into national policies and programs.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001133.
This study is part of a PLoS Collection of articles on VMMC (http://www.ploscollections.org/VMMC2011) and is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Review Article by Hankins et al. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001127)
Information is available from WHO, UNAIDS, and PEPFAR on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment, and information on male circumcision for the prevention of HIV transmission
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on aspects of HIV prevention, and on HIV/AIDS in Africa (in English and Spanish)
The Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision, a resource provided by WHO, UNAIDS, and other international bodies, provides information and tools for VMMC policy development and program implementation
Wikipedia has a page on Diffusion of Innovations theory (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
Personal stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through Avert, through NAM/aidsmap, and through the charity website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001133
PMCID: PMC3226465  PMID: 22140368
10.  Effects of Genital Ulcer Disease and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 on the Efficacy of Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention: Analyses from the Rakai Trials 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(11):e1000187.
Ron Gray and colleagues analyze data from two circumcision trials in Uganda to assess how HSV-2 status and genital ulcer disease affect the procedure's ability to reduce HIV infection.
Background
Randomized trials show that male circumcision (MC) reduces the incidence of HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) infections, and symptomatic genital ulcer disease (GUD). We assessed the role of GUD and HSV-2 in the protection against HIV afforded by MC.
Methods and Findings
HIV-uninfected men were randomized to immediate (n = 2,756) or delayed MC (n = 2,775) in two randomized trials in Rakai, Uganda. GUD symptoms, HSV-2 status, and HIV acquisition were determined at enrollment and at 6, 12, and 24 mo of follow up. Ulcer etiology was assessed by PCR. We estimated the prevalence and prevalence risk ratios (PRRs) of GUD in circumcised versus uncircumcised men and assessed the effects of HSV-2 serostatus as a risk-modifying factor for GUD. We estimated the proportion of the effect of MC on HIV acquisition that was mediated by symptomatic GUD, and by HSV-2 infection. Circumcision significantly reduced symptomatic GUD in HSV-2-seronegative men (PRR = 0.51, 95% [confidence interval] CI 0.43–0.74), HSV-2-seropositive men (PRR = 0.66, 95% CI 0.51–0.69), and in HSV-2 seroconverters (PRR = 0.48, 95% CI 0.30–0.79). The proportion of acute ulcers due to HSV-2 detected by PCR was 48.0% in circumcised men and 39.3% in uncircumcised men (χ2 p = 0.62). Circumcision reduced the risk of HIV acquisition in HSV-2 seronegative men (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 0.34, 95% CI 0.15–0.81), and potentially in HSV-2 seroconverters (IRR = 0.56, 95% CI 0.19–1.57; not significant), but not in men with prevalent HSV-2 at enrollment (IRR = 0.89, 95% CI 0.49–1.60). The proportion of reduced HIV acquisition in circumcised men mediated by reductions in symptomatic GUD was 11.2% (95% CI 5.0–38.0), and the proportion mediated by reduced HSV-2 incidence was 8.6% (95% CI −1.2 to 77.1).
Conclusions
Circumcision reduced GUD irrespective of HSV-2 status, but this reduction played only a modest role in the protective effect of circumcision on HIV acquisition.
NIH Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00425984
Gates Foundation Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00124878
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has killed more than 25 million people since 1981, and more than 30 million people (22 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone) are now infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS. Consequently, prevention of HIV transmission is extremely important. Because HIV is most often spread through unprotected sex with an infected partner, individuals can reduce their risk of becoming infected with HIV by abstaining from sex, by having one or a few partners, and by always using a male or female condom. In addition, three large trials in sub-Saharan Africa (including one in Rakai, Uganda) recently reported that male circumcision—the removal of the foreskin, a loose fold of skin that covers the head of the penis—can halve HIV transmission rates in men. Thus, as part of its HIV prevention strategy, the World Health Organization now recommends that male circumcision programs be scaled up in countries where there is a generalized HIV epidemic and where few men are circumcised.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is still not clear why male circumcision reduces HIV acquisition in men. Certainly, the foreskin contains many cells that HIV can infect and the foreskin's delicate lining is thought to be particularly vulnerable to HIV infection partly because intercourse can cause small tears in it through which HIV can enter the body. But male circumcision also reduces genital ulcer disease—sores on the penis and other genital organs caused by infection with several sexually transmitted organisms including the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Genital ulcer disease, particularly when caused by HSV-2, is thought to increase a person's risk of acquiring HIV, so could male circumcision reduce HIV transmission rates because of its beneficial effects on genital ulcer disease rather than through its removal of foreskin tissue with its rich source of HIV target cells? In this study, the researchers investigate this question by re-analyzing data collected in two Ugandan trials of male circumcision for HIV prevention.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In the Ugandan trials, the researchers randomly assigned about 5,500 HIV-uninfected men to immediate circumcision or to circumcision 24 months later. At enrollment, they asked the men whether they had any symptoms of genital ulcer disease (for example, a painful penile sore or genital itching), examined the men's genital areas, and took blood samples to test for HSV-2 infection. The researchers repeated these examinations and tests at 6 months, 12 months, and 24 months and tested the study participants for HIV infection. The researchers' statistical analysis of these data shows that circumcision approximately halved symptomatic genital ulcer disease in the study participants irrespective of their HSV-2 infection status. Circumcision reduced the risk of HIV acquisition in men without HSV-2 infection by two-thirds but did not affect HIV acquisition among men infected with HSV-2 at enrollment. Among the men who became infected with HSV-2 during the study, circumcision reduced the risk of HIV acquisition but this reduction in risk was not statistically significant. That is, it could have happened by chance. Finally, the researchers calculated that 11.2% of the observed reduction in HIV acquisition associated with circumcision was mediated by reductions in symptomatic genital ulcer disease and 8.6% was mediated by reductions in HSV-2 infections.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings of this study are limited by the small number of people in some of the subgroups analyzed and by genital ulcer disease being self-reported. Furthermore, the validity of some of the findings may be compromised because the analysis described here was not specified in the original trial protocol. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that the reduction of genital ulceration following circumcision plays only a minor part in the ability of male circumcision to reduce HIV acquisition in men. They also suggest that circumcision reduces genital ulcer disease primarily by reducing the rate of nonherpetic ulceration, including sores caused by mild trauma during intercourse. Thus, the researchers conclude, most of the reduction in HIV acquisition provided by male circumcision may be attributable to the removal of vulnerable foreskin tissue containing HIV target cells.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000187.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on HIV and AIDS in Uganda, and on circumcision and HIV (in English and Spanish)
More information about male circumcision is available from the Clearinghouse on Male Circumcision
Information on the Rakai HIV prevention trial is available
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on male genital sores (in English and Spanish)
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases provides information about genital herpes
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides information on genital herpes (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000187
PMCID: PMC2771764  PMID: 19936044
11.  Declining Rates in Male Circumcision amidst Increasing Evidence of its Public Health Benefit 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(9):e861.
Background
Recent experimental evidence has demonstrated the benefits of male circumcision for the prevention of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Studies have also shown that male circumcision is cost-effective and reduces the risk for certain ulcerative sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The epidemiology of male circumcision in the United States is poorly studied and most prior reports were limited by self-reported measures. The study objective was to describe male circumcision trends among men attending the San Francisco municipal STD clinic, and to correlate the findings with HIV, syphilis and sexual orientation.
Methods and Findings
A cross sectional study was performed by reviewing all electronic records of males attending the San Francisco municipal STD clinic between 1996 and 2005. The prevalence of circumcision over time and by subpopulation such as race/ethnicity and sexual orientation were measured. The findings were further correlated with the presence of syphilis and HIV infection. Circumcision status was determined by physical examination and disease status by clinical evaluation with laboratory confirmation. Among 58,598 male patients, 32,613 (55.7%, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) 55.2–56.1) were circumcised. Male circumcision varied significantly by decade of birth (increasing between 1920 and 1950 and declining overall since the 1960's), race/ethnicity (Black: 62.2%, 95% CI 61.2–63.2, White: 60.0%, 95% CI 59.46–60.5, Asian Pacific Islander: 48.2%, 46.9–49.5 95% CI, and Hispanic: 42.2%, 95% CI 41.3–43.1), and sexual orientation (gay/bisexual: 73.0%, 95% CI 72.6–73.4; heterosexual: 66.0%, 65.5–66.5). Male circumcision may have been modestly protective against syphilis in HIV-uninfected heterosexual men (PR 0.92, 95% C.I. 0.83–1.02, P = 0.06).
Conclusions
Male circumcision was common among men seeking STD services in San Francisco but has declined substantially in recent decades. Male circumcision rates differed by race/ethnicity and sexual orientation. Given recent studies suggesting the public health benefits of male circumcision, a reconsideration of national male circumcision policy is needed to respond to current trends.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000861
PMCID: PMC1955830  PMID: 17848992
12.  The Safety of Adult Male Circumcision in HIV-Infected and Uninfected Men in Rakai, Uganda 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(6):e116.
Background
The objective of the study was to compare rates of adverse events (AEs) related to male circumcision (MC) in HIV-positive and HIV-negative men in order to provide guidance for MC programs that may provide services to HIV-infected and uninfected men.
Methods and Findings
A total of 2,326 HIV-negative and 420 HIV-positive men (World Health Organization [WHO] stage I or II and CD4 counts > 350 cells/mm3) were circumcised in two separate but procedurally identical trials of MC for HIV and/or sexually transmitted infection prevention in rural Rakai, Uganda. Participants were followed at 1–2 d and 5–9 d, and at 4–6 wk, to assess surgery-related AEs, wound healing, and resumption of intercourse. AE risks and wound healing were compared in HIV-positive and HIV-negative men. Adjusted odds ratios (AdjORs) were estimated by multiple logistic regression, adjusting for baseline characteristics and postoperative resumption of sex. At enrollment, HIV-positive men were older, more likely to be married, reported more sexual partners, less condom use, and higher rates of sexually transmitted disease symptoms than HIV-negative men. Risks of moderate or severe AEs were 3.1/100 and 3.5/100 in HIV-positive and HIV-negative participants, respectively (AdjOR 0.91, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.47–1.74). Infections were the most common AEs (2.6/100 in HIV-positive versus 3.0/100 in HIV-negative men). Risks of other complications were similar in the two groups. The proportion with completed healing by 6 wk postsurgery was 92.7% in HIV-positive men and 95.8% in HIV-negative men (p = 0.007). AEs were more common in men who resumed intercourse before wound healing compared to those who waited (AdjOR 1.56, 95% CI 1.05–2.33).
Conclusions
Overall, the safety of MC was comparable in asymptomatic HIV-positive and HIV-negative men, although healing was somewhat slower among the HIV infected. All men should be strongly counseled to refrain from intercourse until full wound healing is achieved.
Trial registration: http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov; for HIV-negative men, #NCT00047073 and for HIV-positive men, #NCT00047073.
Ron Gray and colleagues report on complications of circumcision in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected men from two related trials in Uganda, finding increased risk with intercourse before wound healing.
Editors' Summary
Background
Worldwide over 33 million people are thought to be living with HIV, and in the absence of a vaccine, preventing its spread is a major health issue. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimate that 68% of 2.5 million new infections worldwide in 2007 took place in sub-Saharan Africa, where 76% of 2.1 million AIDS-related deaths also took place.
One of the principal means of person-to-person transmission of HIV is through sex without the protection of a condom. In parts of Africa, male circumcision is performed in infancy or childhood for religious or cultural reasons or is a traditional rite of passage that marks the transition from child to man. Three trials, in South Africa, Kenya, and Uganda, each found that circumcised men were around half as likely as uncircumcised men to contract HIV from HIV-positive female partners. After reviewing the results, WHO and UNAIDS issued joint advice that male circumcision should be promoted for preventing HIV infection in heterosexual men. As male circumcision does not provide complete protection against HIV infection, they advised that it should be promoted in addition to existing strategies of promoting condom use, abstinence, and a reduction in the number of sexual partners.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although earlier studies had shown that adult male circumcision, when performed in Africa under optimal conditions, is a safe procedure for HIV-negative men, it was not known whether it would also be a safe procedure for HIV-positive men. WHO guidelines recommend that HIV-positive men who request the procedure or have a medical need and no contraindications for it should be circumcised. Also, exclusion of HIV-positive men from circumcision programs may result in stigmatization of these men, and discourage participation by men who do not wish to be tested for HIV. Therefore, it is important to know whether the procedure is safe for HIV-positive men.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The authors compared results from two separate clinical trials carried out with identical procedures in rural Rakai, Uganda. The first, which compared the effect of circumcision with no circumcision in HIV-negative men, was one of the three trials that persuaded the WHO and UNAIDS to promote male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy. The second Rakai trial did the same comparison but in men who were HIV positive and without symptoms. In this present study, the authors used data from both trials to compare the likelihood of surgery-related complications following circumcision for HIV-negative and HIV-positive men.
The trials recruited men aged 15–49, who were randomly assigned to be circumcised either on enrollment or two years later and were followed up to monitor complications related to the procedure, such as infections, as well as wound healing and when the participant first had sex after the operation. Condom use was recorded at enrollment and six months after enrollment.
The researchers found that most complications were infrequent, mild, and comparable in both groups, with moderate-to-severe complications occurring in only 3%–4% of men in each group. However, delayed wound healing was more frequent in HIV-positive men. Complications were more likely among men who had sex before healing was complete; such men were more likely to be HIV-positive and/or married. Similarly, moderate or severe complications were more likely where men had symptoms of sexually transmitted disease at enrollment, although these were treated before surgery, and these men were more likely to be HIV-positive. Six months after enrollment, similar proportions of HIV-positive and HIV-negative men used condoms consistently, but HIV-positive men were more likely to report using condoms inconsistently than HIV-negative men. However, consistent use of a condom increased among the HIV-positive men compared to when they enrolled.
What Do these Findings Mean?
Circumcision in HIV-positive men without symptoms of AIDS has a low rate of complications, although healing is slower than in HIV-negative men. Because of the greater risk of complications if sex is resumed before full healing, both men and their women partners should be advised to have no sex for at least six weeks after the operation. A separately reported analysis from one of these studies found that women partners are more likely to become HIV infected by HIV-positive men who resume sex prior to complete wound healing. Therefore, for protection of both men and their female partners, it is essential to refrain from intercourse after circumcision until the wound has completely healed.
Because the study found no increased risk of surgical complications in HIV-positive men who undergo circumcision, it should not be necessary to screen men with no symptoms of HIV in future circumcision programs. This should reduce the complexity of implementing such programs and reduce any stigma resulting from exclusion, making it likely that more men will be willing to be circumcised. The rise in consistent condom use among HIV-positive men suggests that messages of safe sex are reaching an important target group and changing their behavior, and that circumcision does not make men less likely to use a condom.
The authors also noted that the rates of complications they observed were low compared with those following traditional circumcision procedures. Others have found that circumcision carried out under unsafe conditions has a high rate of complications. The authors of this study comment that the resources and standards of surgery during the trial represented best practice and that to attain similarly low rates of complications—and the confidence of men in the safety of the procedure—there is a need to ensure sufficient resources and high standards of training.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050116.
WHO and the UNAIDS issued a joint report recommending male circumcision for HIV prevention and another on the HIV epidemic worldwide in December 2007
An information pack here on male circumcision and HIV prevention has also been developed jointly by WHO/UNAIDS, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Bank
The University of California San Francisco's HIV InSite provides information on HIV prevention, treatment, and policy
AEGIS is the world's largest searchable database on HIV and AIDS
The National AIDS Trust provides information on HIV prevention
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050116
PMCID: PMC2408615  PMID: 18532873
13.  Costs and Effectiveness of Neonatal Male Circumcision 
Objective
To evaluate the expected change in the prevalence of male circumcision (MC)–reduced infections and resulting health care costs associated with continued decreases in MC rates. During the past 20 years, MC rates have declined from 79% to 55%, alongside reduced insurance coverage.
Design
We used Markov-based Monte Carlo simulations to track men and women throughout their lifetimes as they experienced MC procedure-related events and MC-reduced infections and accumulated associated costs. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were used to evaluate the impact of uncertainty.
Setting
United States.
Participants
Birth cohort of men and women.
Intervention
Decreased MC rates (10% reflects the MC rate in Europe, where insurance coverage is limited).
Outcomes Measured
Lifetime direct medical cost (2011 US$) and prevalence of MC-reduced infections.
Results
Reducing the MC rate to 10% will increase lifetime health care costs by $407 per male and $43 per female. Net expenditure per annual birth cohort (including procedure and complication costs) is expected to increase by $505 million, reflecting an increase of $313 per forgone MC. Over 10 annual cohorts, net present value of additional costs would exceed $4.4 billion. Lifetime prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus infection among males is expected to increase by 12.2% (4843 cases), high- and low-risk human papillomavirus by 29.1% (57 124 cases), herpes simplex virus type 2 by 19.8% (124 767 cases), and infant urinary tract infections by 211.8% (26 876 cases). Among females, lifetime prevalence of bacterial vaginosis is expected to increase by 51.2% (538 865 cases), trichomoniasis by 51.2% (64 585 cases), high-risk human papillomavirus by 18.3% (33 148 cases), and low-risk human papillomavirus by 12.9% (25 837 cases). Increased prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus infection among males represents 78.9% of increased expenses.
Conclusion
Continued decreases in MC rates are associated with increased infection prevalence, thereby increasing medical expenditures for men and women.
doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.1440
PMCID: PMC3640353  PMID: 22911349
14.  Achieving the HIV Prevention Impact of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision: Lessons and Challenges for Managing Programs 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(5):e1001641.
In this Collection Review, Sema Sgaier and colleagues highlight the key points from the PLOS Volunteer Medical Male Circumcision Collection and give some recommendations on the way forward.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is capable of reducing the risk of sexual transmission of HIV from females to males by approximately 60%. In 2007, the WHO and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) recommended making VMMC part of a comprehensive HIV prevention package in countries with a generalized HIV epidemic and low rates of male circumcision. Modeling studies undertaken in 2009–2011 estimated that circumcising 80% of adult males in 14 priority countries in Eastern and Southern Africa within five years, and sustaining coverage levels thereafter, could avert 3.4 million HIV infections within 15 years and save US$16.5 billion in treatment costs. In response, WHO/UNAIDS launched the Joint Strategic Action Framework for accelerating the scale-up of VMMC for HIV prevention in Southern and Eastern Africa, calling for 80% coverage of adult male circumcision by 2016. While VMMC programs have grown dramatically since inception, they appear unlikely to reach this goal. This review provides an overview of findings from the PLOS Collection “Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention: Improving Quality, Efficiency, Cost Effectiveness, and Demand for Services during an Accelerated Scale-up.” The use of devices for VMMC is also explored. We propose emphasizing management solutions to help VMMC programs in the priority countries achieve the desired impact of averting the greatest possible number of HIV infections. Our recommendations include advocating for prioritization and funding of VMMC, increasing strategic targeting to achieve the goal of reducing HIV incidence, focusing on programmatic efficiency, exploring the role of new technologies, rethinking demand creation, strengthening data use for decision-making, improving governments' program management capacity, strategizing for sustainability, and maintaining a flexible scale-up strategy informed by a strong monitoring, learning, and evaluation platform.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001641
PMCID: PMC4011573  PMID: 24800840
15.  The PrePex Device Is Unlikely to Achieve Cost-Savings Compared to the Forceps-Guided Method in Male Circumcision Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53380.
Background
Male circumcision (MC) reduces the risk of heterosexual HIV acquisition in men by approximately 60%. MC programs for HIV prevention are currently being scaled-up in fourteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The current standard surgical technique for MC in many sub-Saharan African countries is the forceps-guided male circumcision (FGMC) method. The PrePex male circumcision (PMC) method could replace FGMC and potentially reduce MC programming costs. We compared the potential costs of introducing the PrePex device into MC programming to the cost of the forceps-guided method.
Methods
Data were obtained from the Nyanza Reproductive Health Society (NRHS), an MC service delivery organization in Kenya, and from the Kenya Ministry of Health. Analyses are based on 48,265 MC procedures performed in four Districts in western Kenya from 2009 through 2011. Data were entered into the WHO/UNAIDS Decision Makers Program Planning Tool. The tool assesses direct and indirect costs of MC programming. Various sensitivity analyses were performed. Costs were discounted at an annual rate of 6% and are presented in United States Dollars.
Results
Not including the costs of the PrePex device or referral costs for men with phimosis/tight foreskin, the costs of one MC surgery were $44.54–$49.02 and $54.52–$55.29 for PMC and FGMC, respectively.
Conclusion
The PrePex device is unlikely to result in significant cost-savings in comparison to the forceps-guided method. MC programmers should target other aspects of the male circumcision minimum package for improved cost efficiency.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053380
PMCID: PMC3549910  PMID: 23349708
16.  Adult male circumcision in Nyanza, Kenya at scale: the cost and efficiency of alternative service delivery modes 
Background
Adult male circumcision (MC) services in Kenya are provided through both horizontal and vertical programs, and via facility-based, mobile and outreach service delivery. This study assesses the costs and composition of unit costs for each program approach and service delivery mode and assess the cost-effectiveness of each.
Methods
This study was conducted on the unit costs of adult MC delivery in 222 purposively-selected MC delivery sites in Nyanza Province, Kenya from November 2008 through April 2010 using program data from the AIDS, Population, and Health Integrated Assistance Project II (APHIA II) and from the Nyanza Reproductive Health Society (NRHS). The former program can be characterized as horizontal or integrated; the latter as ‘diagonal’; containing both horizontal and vertical elements. Expenditure and services data were collected from project financial and monitoring documents and via discussions with program officials. In addition, per-case, direct service delivery costs were calculated using time and motion observations of 246 adult MC procedures performed during May and June, 2010. We calculated the cost per HIV infections averted for each of the service delivery modalities.
Results
Unit cost per adult MC was $38.62 and $44.24 for APHIA II and NRHS respectively, ranging from $29.32 (APHIA II mobile) to $46.20 (NRHS outreach/mobile). Unit costs at base facilities was similar for the two approaches. Time and motion data revealed that the opportunity cost of the elapsed time between the arrival of the surgical team and the time the first MC procedure begins varies between $2.08 and $6.27 per case. The cost per HIV infection (HIA) averted ranged from $117.29 for mobile service via the horizontal APHIA-II program to $184.84 per HIA for the diagonal NRHS program.
Conclusions
This study provides evidence for the similar efficiency of a horizontal approach (APHIA II) and a combination of horizontal and vertical approaches (NRHS) to support scale-up of adult MC services in Nyanza. Differences in unit cost are modest, not consistently in the same direction, and largely explained by differences in compensation levels.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-31
PMCID: PMC3902184  PMID: 24450374
Adult male circumcision; Cost; Efficiency; Service delivery; Cost-effectiveness; HIV prevention
17.  Will circumcision provide even more protection from HIV to women and men? New estimates of the population impact of circumcision interventions 
Background
Mathematical modelling has indicated that expansion of male circumcision services in high HIV prevalence settings can substantially reduce population-level HIV transmission. However, these projections need revision to incorporate new data on the effect of male circumcision on the risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV.
Methods
Recent data on the effect of male circumcision during wound healing and the risk of HIV transmission to women were synthesised based on four trials of circumcision among adults and new observational data of HIV transmission rates in stable partnerships from men circumcised at younger ages. New estimates were generated for the impact of circumcision interventions in two mathematical models, representing the HIV epidemics in Zimbabwe and Kisumu, Kenya. The models did not capture the interaction between circumcision, HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Results
An increase in the risk of HIV acquisition and transmission during wound healing is unlikely to have a major impact of circumcision interventions. However, it was estimated that circumcision confers a 46% reduction in the rate of male-to-female HIV transmission. If this reduction begins 2 years after the procedure, the impact of circumcision is substantially enhanced and accelerated compared with previous projections with no such effect—increasing by 40% the infections averted by the intervention overall and doubling the number of infections averted among women.
Conclusions
Communities, and especially women, may benefit much more from circumcision interventions than had previously been predicted, and these results provide an even greater imperative to increase scale-up of safe male circumcision services.
doi:10.1136/sti.2010.043372
PMCID: PMC3272710  PMID: 20966458
HIV; mathematical model; circumcision; Epidemiology; Africa
18.  Determinants and Policy Implications of Male Circumcision in the United States 
American journal of public health  2008;99(1):138-145.
Objective
We sought to determine whether lack of state Medicaid coverage for infant male circumcision correlates with lower circumcision rates.
Methods
We used data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample on 417282 male newborns to calculate hospital-level circumcision rates. We used weighted multiple regression to correlate hospital circumcision rates with hospital-level predictors and state Medicaid coverage of circumcision.
Results
The mean neonatal male circumcision rate was 55.9%. When we controlled for other factors, hospitals in states in which Medicaid covers routine male circumcision had circumcision rates that were 24 percentage points higher than did hospitals in states without such coverage (P<.001). Hospitals serving greater proportions of Hispanic patients had lower circumcision rates; this was not true of hospitals serving more African Americans. Medicaid coverage had a smaller effect on circumcision rates when a hospital had a greater percentage of Hispanic births.
Conclusions
Lack of Medicaid coverage for neonatal male circumcision correlated with lower rates of circumcision. Because uncircumcised males face greater risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, lack of Medicaid coverage for circumcision may translate into future health disparities for children born to poor families covered by Medicaid.
doi:10.2105/AJPH.2008.134403
PMCID: PMC2636604  PMID: 19008503
19.  Can Male Circumcision Have an Impact on the HIV Epidemic in Men Who Have Sex with Men? 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102960.
Background
Three trials have demonstrated the prophylactic effect of male circumcision (MC) for HIV acquisition among heterosexuals, and MC interventions are underway throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Similar efforts for men who have sex with men (MSM) are stymied by the potential for circumcised MSM to acquire HIV easily through receptive sex and transmit easily through insertive sex. Existing work suggests that MC for MSM should reach its maximum potential in settings where sexual role segregation is historically high and relatively stable across the lifecourse; HIV incidence among MSM is high; reported willingness for prophylactic circumcision is high; and pre-existing circumcision rates are low. We aim to identify the likely public health impact that MC interventions among MSM would have in one setting that fulfills these conditions—Peru—as a theoretical upper bound for their effectiveness among MSM generally.
Methods and Findings
We use a dynamic, stochastic sexual network model based in exponential-family random graph modeling and parameterized from multiple behavioral surveys of Peruvian MSM. We consider three enrollment criteria (insertive during 100%, >80% or >60% of UAI) and two levels of uptake (25% and 50% of eligible men); we explore sexual role proportions from two studies and different frequencies of switching among role categories. Each scenario is simulated 10 times. We estimate that efficiency could reach one case averted per 6 circumcisions. However, the population-level impact of an optimistic MSM-MC intervention in this setting would likely be at most ∼5–10% incidence and prevalence reductions over 25 years.
Conclusions
Roll-out of MC for MSM in Peru would not result in a substantial reduction in new HIV infections, despite characteristics in this population that could maximize such effects. Additional studies are needed to confirm these results for other MSM populations, and providers may consider the individual health benefits of offering MC to their MSM patients.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0102960
PMCID: PMC4116164  PMID: 25076493
20.  Circumcision preference among women and uncircumcised men prior to scale-up of male circumcision for HIV prevention in Kisumu, Kenya 
AIDS care  2011;24(2):157-166.
Following the endorsement by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) of male circumcision as an additional strategy to HIV prevention, initiatives to introduce safe, voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services commenced in 2008 in several sub-Saharan African communities. Information regarding perceptions of circumcision as a method of HIV prevention, however, is largely limited to data collected before this important endorsement and the associated increase in the availability of VMMC services. To address this, we completed a community-based survey of male circumcision (MC) perceptions in the major non-circumcising community in Kenya, which is the current focus of VMMC programs in the country. Data was collected between November 2008 and April 2009, immediately before VMMC program scale-up commenced. Here we present results limited to women (n = 1088) and uncircumcised males (n = 460) to provide insight into factors contributing to the acceptability and preference for MC in those targeted by VMMC programs. Separate multivariable models examining preference for circumcision were defined for married men, unmarried men, and women. Belief in the protective effect of circumcision on HIV risk was strongly associated with preference for MC in all models. Other important factors included education, perceived improvement in sexual pleasure, and perceptions of impact on condom utilization. Identified barriers to circumcision were the belief that circumcision was not part of the local culture, the perception of a long healing period following the procedure, the lack of a specific impetus to seek out services, and the general fear of pain associated with becoming circumcised. A minority of participants expressed beliefs suggesting that behavioral risk compensation with increased MC prevalence and awareness is a possibility. This work describes the early impact of a large-scale VMMC program on beliefs and behaviors regarding MC and HIV risk. It is hoped that our findings may offer guidance into anticipating potential impacts that similar programs may observe in populations throughout Eastern Africa.
doi:10.1080/09540121.2011.597944
PMCID: PMC3682798  PMID: 21854351
HIV/AIDS; circumcision; sexual behavior; Africa
21.  Estimating the Resources Needed and Savings Anticipated from Roll-Out of Adult Male Circumcision in Sub-Saharan Africa 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(8):e2679.
Background
Trials in Africa indicate that medical adult male circumcision (MAMC) reduces the risk of HIV by 60%. MAMC may avert 2 to 8 million HIV infections over 20 years in sub-Saharan Africa and cost less than treating those who would have been infected. This paper estimates the financial and human resources required to roll out MAMC and the net savings due to reduced infections.
Methods
We developed a model which included costing, demography and HIV epidemiology. We used it to investigate 14 countries in sub-Saharan Africa where the prevalence of male circumcision was lower than 80% and HIV prevalence among adults was higher than 5%, in addition to Uganda and the Nyanza province in Kenya. We assumed that the roll-out would take 5 years and lead to an MC prevalence among adult males of 85%. We also assumed that surgery would be done as it was in the trials. We calculated public program cost, number of full-time circumcisers and net costs or savings when adjusting for averted HIV treatments. Costs were in USD, discounted to 2007. 95% percentile intervals (95% PI) were estimated by Monte Carlo simulations.
Results
In the first 5 years the number of circumcisers needed was 2 282 (95% PI: 2 018 to 2 959), or 0.24 (95% PI: 0.21 to 0.31) per 10 000 adults. In years 6–10, the number of circumcisers needed fell to 513 (95% PI: 452 to 664). The estimated 5-year cost of rolling out MAMC in the public sector was $919 million (95% PI: 726 to 1 245). The cumulative net cost over the first 10 years was $672 million (95% PI: 437 to 1 021) and over 20 years there were net savings of $2.3 billion (95% PI: 1.4 to 3.4).
Conclusion
A rapid roll-out of MAMC in sub-Saharan Africa requires substantial funding and a high number of circumcisers for the first five years. These investments are justified by MAMC's substantial health benefits and the savings accrued by averting future HIV infections. Lower ongoing costs and continued care savings suggest long-term sustainability.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002679
PMCID: PMC2475667  PMID: 18682725
22.  Acceptability of Medical Male Circumcision and Improved Instrument Sanitation Among a Traditionally Circumcising Group in East Africa 
AIDS and behavior  2012;16(7):1846-1852.
By removing the foreskin, medical male circumcision (MMC) reduces female to male heterosexual HIV transmission by approximately 60 %. Traditional circumcision has higher rates of complications than MMC, and reports indicate unsanitized instruments are sometimes shared across groups of circumcision initiates. A geographically stratified, cluster survey of acceptability of MMC and improved instrument sanitation was conducted among 368 eligible Maasai participants in two Northern Districts of Tanzania. Most respondents had been circumcised in groups, with 56 % circumcised with a shared knife rinsed in water between initiates and 16 % circumcised with a knife not cleaned between initiates. Contrasting practice, 88 % preferred use of medical supplies for their sons’ circumcisions. Willingness to provide MMC to sons was 28 %; however, provided the contingency of traditional leadership support for MMC, this rose to 84 %. Future interventions to address circumcision safety, including traditional circumciser training and expansion of access to MMC, are discussed.
doi:10.1007/s10461-012-0262-6
PMCID: PMC3465712  PMID: 22797931
Male circumcision; Risk reduction; Acceptability; HIV prevention; Africa
23.  Costs and Impacts of Scaling up Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision in Tanzania 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e83925.
Background
Given the proven effectiveness of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in preventing the spread of HIV, Tanzania is scaling up VMMC as an HIV prevention strategy. This study will inform policymakers about the potential costs and benefits of scaling up VMMC services in Tanzania.
Methodology
The analysis first assessed the unit costs of delivering VMMC at the facility level in three regions—Iringa, Kagera, and Mbeya—via three currently used VMMC service delivery models (routine, campaign, and mobile/island outreach). Subsequently, using these unit cost data estimates, the study used the Decision Makers' Program Planning Tool (DMPPT) to estimate the costs and impact of a scaled-up VMMC program.
Results
Increasing VMMC could substantially reduce HIV infection. Scaling up adult VMMC to reach 87.9% coverage by 2015 would avert nearly 23,000 new adult HIV infections through 2015 and an additional 167,500 from 2016 through 2025—at an additional cost of US$253.7 million through 2015 and US$302.3 million from 2016 through 2025. Average cost per HIV infection averted would be US$11,300 during 2010–2015 and US$3,200 during 2010–2025. Scaling up VMMC in Tanzania will yield significant net benefits (benefits of treatment costs averted minus the cost of performing circumcisions) in the long run—around US$4,200 in net benefits for each infection averted.
Conclusion
VMMC could have an immediate impact on HIV transmission, but the full impact on prevalence and deaths will only be apparent in the longer term because VMMC averts infections some years into the future among people who have been circumcised. Given the health and economic benefits of investing in VMMC, the scale-up of services should continue to be a central component of the national HIV prevention strategy in Tanzania.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083925
PMCID: PMC4011575  PMID: 24802022
24.  Behavior Change Pathways to Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision: Narrative Interviews with Circumcision Clients in Zambia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111602.
As an HIV prevention strategy, the scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) is underway in 14 countries in Africa. For prevention impact, these countries must perform millions of circumcisions in adolescent and adult men before 2015. Although acceptability of VMMC in the region is well documented and service delivery efforts have proven successful, countries remain behind in meeting circumcision targets. A better understanding of men's VMMC-seeking behaviors and experiences is needed to improve communication and interventions to accelerate uptake. To this end, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 40 clients waiting for surgical circumcision at clinics in Zambia. Based on Stages of Change behavioral theory, men were asked to recount how they learned about adult circumcision, why they decided it was right for them, what they feared most, how they overcame their fears, and the steps they took to make it to the clinic that day. Thematic analysis across all cases allowed us to identify key behavior change triggers while within-case analysis elucidated variants of one predominant behavior change pattern. Major stages included: awareness and critical belief adjustment, norming pressures and personalization of advantages, a period of fear management and finally VMMC-seeking. Qualitative comparative analysis of ever-married and never-married men revealed important similarities and differences between the two groups. Unprompted, 17 of the men described one to four failed prior attempts to become circumcised. Experienced more frequently by older men, failed VMMC attempts were often due to service-side barriers. Findings highlight intervention opportunities to increase VMMC uptake. Reaching uncircumcised men via close male friends and female sex partners and tailoring messages to stage-specific concerns and needs would help accelerate men's movement through the behavior change process. Expanding service access is also needed to meet current demand. Improving clinic efficiencies and introducing time-saving procedures and advance scheduling options should be considered.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0111602
PMCID: PMC4222873  PMID: 25375790
25.  Randomized, Controlled Intervention Trial of Male Circumcision for Reduction of HIV Infection Risk: The ANRS 1265 Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2005;2(11):e298.
Background
Observational studies suggest that male circumcision may provide protection against HIV-1 infection. A randomized, controlled intervention trial was conducted in a general population of South Africa to test this hypothesis.
Methods and Findings
A total of 3,274 uncircumcised men, aged 18–24 y, were randomized to a control or an intervention group with follow-up visits at months 3, 12, and 21. Male circumcision was offered to the intervention group immediately after randomization and to the control group at the end of the follow-up. The grouped censored data were analyzed in intention-to-treat, univariate and multivariate, analyses, using piecewise exponential, proportional hazards models. Rate ratios (RR) of HIV incidence were determined with 95% CI. Protection against HIV infection was calculated as 1 − RR. The trial was stopped at the interim analysis, and the mean (interquartile range) follow-up was 18.1 mo (13.0–21.0) when the data were analyzed. There were 20 HIV infections (incidence rate = 0.85 per 100 person-years) in the intervention group and 49 (2.1 per 100 person-years) in the control group, corresponding to an RR of 0.40 (95% CI: 0.24%–0.68%; p < 0.001). This RR corresponds to a protection of 60% (95% CI: 32%–76%). When controlling for behavioural factors, including sexual behaviour that increased slightly in the intervention group, condom use, and health-seeking behaviour, the protection was of 61% (95% CI: 34%–77%).
Conclusion
Male circumcision provides a degree of protection against acquiring HIV infection, equivalent to what a vaccine of high efficacy would have achieved. Male circumcision may provide an important way of reducing the spread of HIV infection in sub-Saharan Africa. (Preliminary and partial results were presented at the International AIDS Society 2005 Conference, on 26 July 2005, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.)
The first trial of male circumcision for reducing the risk of HIV finds significantly lower new cases in the treatment group.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020298
PMCID: PMC1262556  PMID: 16231970

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