Since 2007, WHO and UNAIDS have recommended voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) as an additional important strategy for HIV prevention, particularly in settings with high HIV prevalence and low levels of male circumcision, where the public health benefits will be maximized. Fourteen countries in eastern and southern Africa with this profile have initiated programs to expand male circumcision.
Communication plays a key role in the scale-up of VMMC, both in generating demand for services and improving the quality of in-service communication and counseling. HC3 provides technical support to USAID-funded VMMC programs to assess their demand creation strategies and approaches and make recommendations to increase uptake of services. In addition, HC3 participates in external quality assurance assessments of VMMC sites in order to examine the quality of in-service communication and counseling and make recommendations for improvements. HC3 also supports USAID/OHA at the global level on VMMC advocacy efforts, ensuring that through publications, presentations, webinars, and the media, lessons learned are shared among countries, and VMMC remains a high profile, key prevention intervention.
HC3 is also conducting a multi-country assessment designed to gain a better understanding of the degree to which VMMC programs are meeting the needs of adolescents in age-appropriate ways by exploring counseling, interpersonal communication and client-provider interaction at the service-level. The study is being conducted in South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe assessing the needs of adolescents aged 10-19, their parents and guardians, and the perceptions and experiences of service providers. Results are expected in late 2016.