Client Communication

Evidence from clinical trials conducted in Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda confirms that medical male circumcision (MMC) significantly reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of males contracting HIV from female partners through penile-vaginal sex. Client communication around VMMC should include basic facts about HIV transmission, risk reduction methods, and the partial protection afforded by circumcision.

Clients should also receive clear information about the benefits of VMMC. As more males are circumcised, female partners are less likely to be sexually exposed to HIV. Since 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have recommended voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) as an important strategy for HIV prevention, particularly in settings with high HIV prevalence and low levels of male circumcision. In addition to the HIV prevention, VMMC also reduces men’s risk of:

  • Penile cancer
  • Acquiring certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including chancroid, herpes, and syphilis

One of the primary benefits of VMMC for female partners is its association with a reduction in penile human papillomavirus (HPV), which is associated with cervical cancer.

Quality issues:

  • Inconsistent messaging regarding HIV & AIDS facts (e.g., modes of transmission, risk reduction, VMMC partial protection for circumcised men, benefits for partners).
  • Recruiters and counselors not trained to efficiently and consistently communicate the health benefits of VMMC, partial protection, and need for other measures of risk reduction.

Resources

This In-service Communication Best Practices Guide was developed by the Communications Sub-group of the PEPFAR VMMC Technical Work Group to present, in a user-friendly format, the minimum essential in-service communication and counseling content across the VMMC service continuum, based on recent evidence updates and changes in VMMC programming and policies.

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These guidelines issued by the National Department of Health of the Republic of South Africa, provide comprehensive guidance for organizing and assuring the quality of VMMC service delivery.

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