Low adverse event rates following voluntary medical male circumcision in a high HIV disease burden public sector prevention programme in South Africa.
Abdool Karim, Quarraisha.
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Introduction: The provision of voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) services was piloted in three public sector facilities in a high HIV disease burden, low circumcision rate province in South Africa to inform policy and operational guidance for scale-up of the service for HIV prevention. We report on adverse events (AEs) experienced by clients following the circumcision procedure. Methods: Prospective recruitment of HIV-negative males aged 12 and older volunteering to be circumcised at three select public health facilities in KwaZulu-Natal between November 2010 and May 2011. Volunteers underwent standardized medical screening including a physical assessment prior to the surgical procedure being performed. AEs were monitored at three time intervals over a 21-day period post-operatively to determine safety outcomes in this pilot demonstration programme. Results: A total of 602 volunteers participated in this study. The median age of the volunteers was 22 years (range 12-56). Most participants (75.6%) returned for the 48-hour post-operative visit; 51.0% for day seven visit and 26.1% for the 21st day visit. Participants aged 20-24 were most likely to return. The AE rate was 0.2% intra-operatively. The frequency of moderate AEs was 0.7, 0.3 and 0.6% at 2-, 7- and 21-day visits, respectively. The frequency of severe AEs was 0.4, 0.3 and 0.6% at 2-, 7- and 21-day visits, respectively. Swelling and wound infection were the most common AEs with mean appearance duration of seven days. Clients aged between 35 and 56 years presented with most AEs (3.0%). Conclusions: VMMC can be delivered safely at resource-limited settings. The intensive three-visit post-operative review practice may be unfeasible due to high attrition rates over time, particularly amongst older men.