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Cost-effectiveness of voluntary medical male circumcision for HIV prevention across sub-Saharan Africa: results from five independent models.

Bansi-Matharu L, Mudimu E, Martin-Hughes R, Hamilton M, Johnson L, Ten Brink D, Stover J, Meyer-Rath G, Kelly SL, Jamieson L, Cambiano V, Jahn A, Cowan FM, Mangenah C, Mavhu W, Chidarikire T, Toledo C, Revill P, Sundaram M, Hatzold K, Yansaneh A, Apollo T, Kalua T, Mugurungi O, Kiggundu V, Zhang S, Nyirenda R, Phillips A, Kripke K, Bershteyn A

  • Journal The Lancet. Global health

  • Published 20 Dec 2022

  • Volume 11

  • ISSUE 2

  • Pagination e244-e255

  • DOI 10.1016/S2214-109X(22)00515-0


Voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) has been a recommended HIV prevention strategy in sub-Saharan Africa since 2007, particularly in countries with high HIV prevalence. However, given the scale-up of antiretroviral therapy programmes, it is not clear whether VMMC still represents a cost-effective use of scarce HIV programme resources.

Using five existing well described HIV mathematical models, we compared continuation of VMMC for 5 years in men aged 15 years and older to no further VMMC in South Africa, Malawi, and Zimbabwe and across a range of setting scenarios in sub-Saharan Africa. Outputs were based on a 50-year time horizon, VMMC cost was assumed to be US$90, and a cost-effectiveness threshold of US$500 was used.

In South Africa and Malawi, the continuation of VMMC for 5 years resulted in cost savings and health benefits (infections and disability-adjusted life-years averted) according to all models. Of the two models modelling Zimbabwe, the continuation of VMMC for 5 years resulted in cost savings and health benefits by one model but was not as cost-effective according to the other model. Continuation of VMMC was cost-effective in 68% of setting scenarios across sub-Saharan Africa. VMMC was more likely to be cost-effective in modelled settings with higher HIV incidence; VMMC was cost-effective in 62% of settings with HIV incidence of less than 0·1 per 100 person-years in men aged 15-49 years, increasing to 95% with HIV incidence greater than 1·0 per 100 person-years.

VMMC remains a cost-effective, often cost-saving, prevention intervention in sub-Saharan Africa for at least the next 5 years.

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the HIV Modelling Consortium.