Male circumcision is cost-effective

An extensive review of proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs) has found that male circumcision for HIV prevention is among the most cost-effective health interventions, writes the founder of the Copenhagen Consensus Center in a commentary. The center asked 60 teams of economists to assess key SDG targets and make an economic case for which ones should be on the final list. They found that one health objective—tackling deadly preventable diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV—stood out as particularly cost-effective. Bjørn Lomborg writes that scaling up male circumcision would cost $30 million annually, bringing almost $1 billion in benefits, or a return of $28 for each dollar spent. A modeling study conducted for the Copenhagen Consensus found that increasing male circumcision prevalence in the five African countries with the world’s highest rates of HIV could prevent more than 1 million HIV infections over the next 15 years (Project Syndicate, 23 April 2015; Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health News, 11 May 2015).