AIDSFree Activities in VMMC
Voluntary medical male circumcision, or VMMC, is extremely effective in preventing new HIV infections and curbing the HIV epidemic. VMMC programs also increase men's opportunities to seek health care—most importantly, HIV testing services. Scaling up VMMC for HIV prevention is thus critical to combination prevention strategies for saving lives and achieving an AIDS-free generation. Fourteen countries have been prioritized for scale-up: Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. AIDSFree will work to meet the ambitious goal of scaling up VMMC to achieve 80 percent male circumcision in these 14 countries by 2016, as specified in the Action Framework developed jointly by WHO, UNAIDS, World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and PEPFAR.
AIDSFree supports accelerated scale-up of VMMC services by focusing on:
- Technical Assistance on Adopting WHO-recognized Surgical and Non-Surgical Techniques: AIDSFree is helping USAID-supported VMMC programs in eastern and southern Africa to adapt their programs based on evolving guidance from WHO and PEPFAR. Technical assistance includes offering on-site, in-person support for managers and VMMC providers in the field; developing and implementing training programs; conducting needs assessments; documenting and disseminating best practices; and developing other resources as needed to serve a broad variety of stakeholders.
- Knowledge Management: As the reach of PEPFAR-supported VMMC programs continues to grow, research and discovery fuel innovation, while policies evolve to reflect the state of the science. Information on this evolution must be continually updated, managed, and shared. AIDSFree contributes to the global knowledge base on VMMC by maintaining a comprehensive collection of peer-reviewed journal publications, thus offering program planners and policy-makers an in-depth understanding of new accomplishments while tracking the speed of VMMC scale-up to meet ambitious goals.
- Sustainability: While VMMC programs are approaching short-term targets for adult men, there is a need for novel strategies—such as early infant circumcision, possibly combined with adolescent VMMC—to sustain high levels of circumcision indefinitely, to maintain control over the epidemic. AIDSFree collaborates with PEPFAR, UNICEF, UNAIDS, WHO, and USAID-funded implementing partners to strategize on sustainability planning.
- VMMC Demand Generation and Program Advocacy: Alternative views about VMMC exist globally. AIDSFree produces toolkits, mobilizes celebrity "champions," and uses edutainment, to educate audiences, debunk myths, promote VMMC, and inspire program planners to accelerate the scale-up of their VMMC programs.
- PEPFAR Best Practices for VMMC Site Operations Update: Recent developments in VMMC and changes to PEPFAR’s policy have made it necessary to update the guidance document, PEPFAR’s Best Practices for VMMC Site Operations. AIDSFree is revising this resource to reflect the introduction of non-surgical devices, describe tetanus risk and mitigation, update continuous quality improvement procedures, and document other developments as needed.