Estimating male circumcision coverage in 15 priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa

J Int AIDS Soc. 2021 Sep;24 Suppl 5(Suppl 5):e25789. doi: 10.1002/jia2.25789.


Introduction: Given the importance of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in reducing HIV incidence, access to and use of quality data for programme planning and management are essential. Unfortunately, such data are currently not standardized for reliable and consistent programme use in priority countries. To redress this, the UNAIDS Reference Group (RG) on Estimates, Modelling, and Projection worked with partner Avenir Health to use the Decision Makers Program Planning Toolkit (DMPPT) 2 Online to provide estimates of VMMC coverage and to support countries to set age- and geographic-specific targets. This article describes the methods and tools used for assembling, reviewing and validating VMMC programme data as part of the 2021 Estimates process.

Discussion: The approach outlined for integrating VMMC data using the DMPPT2 Online required significant country engagement as well as upgrades to the DMPPT2 Online. The process brought together local-level VMMC stakeholders, for example Ministries of Health, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the World Health Organization (WHO), VMMC implementers and so on, to review, amend and agree on historical and more recent VMMC data. The DMPPT2 Online was upgraded to align with the Spectrum and Naomi models used in the Annual HIV Estimates process. In addition, new and revised inputs were incorporated to enhance accuracy of modelled outputs. The process was successful in mobilizing stakeholders behind efforts to integrate VMMC into the annual HIV Estimates process and generating comprehensive, country-owned and validated VMMC data that will enhance programme monitoring and planning.

Conclusions: VMMC programme data from most of the priority countries were successfully reviewed, updated, validated and incorporated into the annual HIV Estimates process in 2020. It is important to ensure that these data continue to be used for programme planning and management. Current and future data issues will need to be addressed, and countries will need ongoing support to do so. The integration of the DMPPT2 Online into the annual HIV Estimates process is a positive step forward in terms of streamlining country-owned planning and analytical practices for the HIV response.

Keywords: HIV & AIDS; HIV prevention; UNAIDS; biomedical prevention; male circumcision; sub-Saharan Africa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Circumcision, Male*
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Voluntary Programs