PLOS is pleased to publish Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention: Improving Quality, Efficiency, Cost Effectiveness, and Demand for Services during an Accelerated Scale-up, the latest research collection in the organization’s nearly decade long role as a publisher of research documenting the efficacy of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC) as an effective approach to HIV prevention.
In 2005, PLOS Medicine published the first randomized, controlled intervention demonstrating a 60 percent reduction in HIV infections over a two-year period among a trial population of 3,274 young South African men who received a voluntary medical circumcision (VMMC). This level of prevention against contracting the AIDS virus through sex with women is considered equivalent to that of an effective vaccination.
The collection launched today focuses on efforts since 2008 to translate this evidence base into a large scale public health intervention in Subsaharan Africa, the epicenter of the global epidemic, where more than 16 million people currently live with HIV and where new HIV infection rates are highest.
The VMMC campaign currently underway in 14 African countries aims to circumcise 20.2 million men between the ages of 15 and 49 by 2016. Based on modelling studies, published by PLOS Medicine in 2011, if this number of circumcisions is achieved by 2016, authors predict 3.4 million new HIV infections will be prevented, saving the lives of thousands of men, women and children, and averting approximately $16.5 billion in medical treatment costs over 15 years.
According to Dr. Rhona MacDonald, Senior Editor and Collection Editor at PLOS Medicine: “This Collection shows that at a time of constrained international resources to fight HIV/AIDS, voluntary medical male circumcision offers the advantage of its relatively low cost and one-time action to achieve continuous benefits over other prevention methods, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis and preventative Antiretroviral Therapy (ART).”
Containing a comprehensive PLOS Medicine review, plus 13 original PLOS ONE research articles, the collection authors recommend increasing program efficiency and by identifying and prioritizing those most at risk of acquiring HIV, matching supply with demand and focusing on quality at all levels
The importance of documenting lessons learned thus far in the VMMC program implementation were discussed by Emmanuel Njeuhmeli, Senior Biomedical Prevention Advisor at the US Agency for International Development and lead author of the collection, in an interview posted today on the PLOS Speaking of Medicine blog. “Scale-up of VMMC is critically important to reduce the future burden of HIV, particularly in high prevalence regions, such as Eastern and Southern Africa. HIV infections are happening every day among uncircumcised men in the region and this can easily be prevented. Each day that this proven prevention method is not brought to scale represents a missed opportunity to bring us closer to reaching an AIDS-free generation.”
To broaden the reach of this important new content, various blog posts highlighting different aspects of work in the collection will be published in the coming days on the PLOS Blogs Network.
Introduction to the Collection, PLOS Speaking of Medicine, a Staff blog on PLOS BLOGS Network.
“Anatomy of a Collection: Q&A with Emmanuel Njeuhmeli, Author of new PLOS VMMC Collection,” a guest post on PLOS BLOGS Network.
“Male Circumcision Part 1: How It Can Get Us Closer to an “An AIDS-Free Generation” by the Public Health Perspectives blog team on PLOS BLOGS Network.
PLOS Public Health Perspectives blog, a five part series on the new collection.
Huffington Post/Impact PLOS blogger Charles Ebikeme post “Selling Male Circumcision for HIV Prevention at the Epicenter of the Global Epidemic”
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Impatient Optimists blog: “Great News for HIV Prevention in Africa”