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.
- 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.