Researchers identify counselling gaps

Better counselling of younger clients is needed to ensure continued progress in reducing new HIV infections through voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC), Healio reports. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University surveyed 33 providers and 12 facility managers at 12 VMMC sites in South Africa, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe from June 2015 to September 2016 to identify successes as well as areas for improvement. The study, which was published in a special supplement to the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, found that older adolescents were more likely to receive HIV prevention counselling and sex education as part of VMMC services compared to younger clients. It also revealed that providers and counsellors lacked training in how to provide such information to boys and young men. The article quotes researcher Lynn van Lith as saying that despite success in “providing a positive circumcision experience, there is more we can do to set these young men on a path toward a healthy life free of HIV” (Healio, 6 April 2018).