Voluntary medical male circumcision is an effective measure to reduce the cost of HIV
Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) can affect the rate of HIV spread in Zimbabwe in the coming years, says Jessica McGillen of the Imperial College of London. According to her, VMMC in the long term will significantly reduce the cost of diagnosis and treatment of HIV. Conclusions of scientists were published this week in the journal PLOS ONE.
The VMMC program was adopted by Zimbabwe as a priority strategy for HIV prevention in 2007, and its implementation began in 2009.
Clinical studies conducted in the country showed that this method significantly reduces the risk of HIV transmission and provides lifelong protection.
Along with other prevention tools, VMMC is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS.
As pointed out by Medical Xpress, according to the Zimbabwean VMMC program by 2021, the coverage rate for circumcision of men aged 15 to 29 should be 80%, and boys and adolescents from 10 to 14 years old - 30%.
In view of the fact that the program is implemented in a resource-constrained environment, McGillen and her colleagues decided to analyze the economic viability of VMMC in the long term.
Scientists from the three research groups used several mathematical models to assess the current and future impact of the program on public health and the level of costs.
Data obtained by specialists during the analysis showed that the VMMC program, which already had a significant impact on the level of HIV spread in the country, in the future also promises to multiply economic benefits. Thus, according to model estimates, by the end of 2016, VMMC may have prevented from 2.6 thousand to 12.2 thousand infections.
According to experts, if the targets of coverage by 2021 are reached, the program can prevent from 108 thousand to 171 thousand infections (from 10 to 13% of all new infections) by 2030.
Moreover, according to the forecast, by 2021 the annual savings from prevented HIV cases will outweigh the costs of servicing VMMC.