ART and VMMC reduce orphanhood

As the use of antiretroviral treatment and adoption of voluntary medical male circumcision increased, fewer adolescents were orphaned, a study in Uganda’s Rakai region found. The proportion of adolescents who had lost one or both parents fell from 52% in 2007, when VMMC was introduced, to 23% in 2018. During that time, ART use by people living with HIV rose from 0–30% to 78–93% and male circumcision prevalence rose from 15% to 65%. In an article published in The Lancet HIV, the investigators noted that VMMC’s impact on orphanhood was confined to the loss of a father or both parents and not loss of a mother, “which is consistent with research showing that male medical circumcision prevents transmission from HIV-positive women to HIV-negative men, but not from HIV-positive men to HIV-negative women” (Contagion Live, 21 January 2022).