HIV prevention and Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision

The focus of JPS Africa’s newsletter this month is on Voluntary Medical male Circumcision. In collaboration with the Department of Health, JPSA focusses on strengthening multiple efforts to meet key, national targets set out in the National Strategic Plan and the various other HIV/AIDS policy statements and strategic documents. In this regard, JPSA strives to provide a comprehensive, rights based approach to HIV/AIDS programming that is cognizant of the need for effective integration of services including TB/HIV, family planning, human rights and gender issues. In addition, all programs are supported by capacity building in monitoring and evaluation as a focus area for our support to its partners.

The HIV prevalence among the male population in SA is 18.8% with a low circumcision rate 45%. The male circumcision procedure only partially protects men from HIV transmission. VMMC is offered by JPSA as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention services which include screening and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), promotion of sexual partner reduction, correct and consistent male and female condom use, HIV testing and counselling, and active referral of HIV-positive clients to care and treatment. JPS Africa’s MMC programme is a direct response to the HIV epidemic in the country.

Since 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNAIDS have recommended VMMC as a key component of HIV prevention in countries such as South Africa with a high HIV prevalence and low levels of male circumcision.

As a result, to date 14 countries in Southern and Eastern Africa have initiated programmes to expand the provision of male circumcision (Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe).[1]

JPS Africa works across nine provinces providing VMMC including direct service delivery across three provinces (MP, LP, GP) and training across nine provinces using the sustainable developmental approach. The developmental approach is used to transfer VMMC skills to new providers in a short period of time offering standardized training across multiple implementing partners and service delivery outlets in SA, and quality not compromised. This is done in collaboration with the Department of Health, WHO and CDC.

VMMC as public health intervention calls for 80% coverage of male circumcision by 2016 in the 14 priority countries (aiming to reach 20.8 million people).[2]

It was estimated that performing this number of circumcisions would cost US$1.5 billion but would lead to savings of US$16.5 billion by 2025 due to averted HIV treatment and care costs. 80% VMMC coverage would also prevent up to 3.4 million new HIV infections.[3]

JPS Africa offers VMMC services free of charge to clients. We ensure that our messages are culturally and age appropriate. VMMC direct service delivery and training are provided by well-trained and competent health care professional (doctors, Clinical Associates and nurses) working in surgical clean conditions under the leadership of Chief of Party, Jacqui Pienaar. Clients are mobilised and circumcised after providing informed consent, confidentiality ensured in the absence of coercion. As part of the comprehensive package of care counselling for men and their sexual partners are provided to prevent them developing a false sense of security. Dual protection is encouraged. [4]






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