The financial implications of male circumcision (MC) scale-up in sub-Saharan Africa associated with reduced HIV have been evaluated. However, no analysis has incorporated the expected reduction of a comprehensive set of other sexually transmitted infections including human papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus type 2, genital ulcer disease, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis.
A Markov model tracked a dynamic population undergoing potential MC scale-up, as individuals experienced MC procedures, procedure-related adverse events, and MC-reduced sexually transmitted infections and accrued any associated costs. Rakai, Uganda, was used as a prototypical rural sub-Saharan African community. Monte Carlo microsimulations evaluated outcomes under 4 alternative scale-up strategies to reach 80% MC coverage among men aged 15 to 49 years, in addition to a baseline strategy defined by current MC rates in central Uganda. Financial outcomes included direct medical expenses only and were evaluated over 5 and 25 years. Costs were discounted to the beginning of each period, coinciding with the start of MC scale-up, and expressed in US$2012.
Cost savings from infections averted by MC vary from US$197,531 after 5 years of a scale-up program focusing on adolescent/adult procedures to more than US$13 million after 25 years, under a strategy incorporating increased infant MCs. Over a 5-year period, reduction in HIV contributes to 50% of cost savings, and for 25 years, this contribution rises to nearly 90%.
Sexually transmitted infections other than HIV contribute to cost savings associated with MC scale-up. Previous analyses, focusing exclusively on the financial impact through averted HIV, may have underestimated true cost savings by 10% to 50%.