BALTIMORE, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 1 million men and youth in sub-Saharan Africa have chosen to protect themselves and reduce their risk of contracting HIV by participating in Jhpiego-supported voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) programs. This significant milestone contributed to the U.S. Government's goal of providing 4.7 million men with access to this safe and effective procedure that reduces transmission of HIV by December 2013.
The medical male circumcisions were part of comprehensive HIV-prevention strategies implemented by 11 East and Southern African countries in partnership with and support from the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief through the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Defense HIV/AIDS Prevention Program.
Jhpiego, a non-profit global health affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, provided the technical assistance, innovative approaches and policy guidelines to develop and deliver safe, effective and efficient VMMC services. The results of randomized trials show that VMMC reduces female-to-male HIV transmission by approximately 60 percent and modeling studies suggest that rapidly scaling up VMMC to reach 80 percent of reproductive age men could avert an estimated 3.4 million new HIV infections.
VMMC is part of a comprehensive package of HIV-prevention services that includes screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections; HIV testing, counseling and referral to care; and condom promotion and HIV risk-reduction counseling. The impact of the 1 million Jhpiego-supported VMMCs performed is extraordinary; models suggest an estimated 128,460 new infections could be averted by 2025 across these high HIV prevalence countries.
Those who contributed to the milestone included:
- Teacher Mothusi Joseph Kgomo of Botswana, who with parental consent, led a group of his adolescent male students to participate in HIV-prevention services and undergo circumcisions.
- Triza Liyasi of Malawi who encouraged her husband to get circumcised, helping to protect her from the human papillomavirus — the leading cause of cervical cancer— and them both from HIV.
- Lt. Suwilanji Musamba, of the Zambian Defense Forces who after his circumcision discussed the benefits with his platoon, resulting in nearly 40 percent of the soldiers under his command receiving VMMC services.
"The scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision is critically important to reduce the future burden of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa," said Jhpiego President and CEO Dr. Leslie Mancuso. "With strong leadership and support from the U.S. Government and the partnership of local governments, we look forward to continuing the current momentum toward averting HIV infections to create an AIDS-free generation."
Jhpiego (pronounced "ja-pie-go") is an international, non-profit health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. For 40 years, Jhpiego has empowered front-line health workers by designing and implementing effective, low-cost, hands-on solutions to strengthen the delivery of health care services for women and their families. For more information, go to www.jhpiego.org.