Publish Date: July 2014
Author: Emmanuel Njeuhmeli, Karin Hatzold, Elizabeth Gold, Hally Mahler, Katharine Kripke, Kim Seifert-Ahanda, Delivette Castor, Webster Mavhu, Owen Mugurungi, Gertrude Ncube, Sifuni Koshuma, Sema Sgaier, Shanti Conly, Susan Kasedde
The Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS) has published the MCHIP co-authored article, “Lessons Learned From Scale-Up of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision Focusing on Adolescents: Benefits, Challenges, and Potential Opportunities for Linkages With Adolescent HIV, Sexual, and Reproductive Health Services.”
The article—part of a collection of papers in JAIDS entitled “Ending HIV and AIDS in Adolescents: Programmatic and Implementation Science Priorities”—discusses why efforts to scale up voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) should prioritize adolescent males, drawing from new evidence and experiences at the international, country and service delivery levels. The authors also review the extent to which VMMC programs have reached adolescents, addressed their specific needs and can be linked to their sexual and reproductive health and other key services. In priority countries, adolescents represent 34%–55% of the target population to be circumcised, whereas program data from these countries show that adolescents represent between 35% and 74% of the circumcised men.
VMMC for adolescents has several advantages: uptake of services among adolescents is culturally and socially more acceptable than for adults; there are fewer barriers regarding sexual abstinence during healing or female partner pressures; and VMMC performed before the age of sexual debut has maximum long-term impact on reducing HIV risk at the individual level and consequently reduces the risk of transmission in the population. Offered as a comprehensive package, adolescent VMMC can potentially increase public health benefits and offers opportunities for addressing gender norms.
The authors recommend additional research to: assess whether current VMMC services address specific needs of adolescent clients; test adapted tools; and assess linkages between VMMC and other adolescent-focused HIV, health and social services.
To read the open access article, click here.