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.
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.
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.
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.