Medical Male Circumcision in South Africa:

South Africa has an overall target of more than 6 million men by 2016 in order to reach the desired uptake level of 80%. On average, Chaps clinics perform up to 50 circumcisions per day. During school holidays and the winter months (June, July and August), CHAPS’ largest clinics circumcise over 100 clients per day in relatively short periods of time. Over 300,000 men have been safely circumcised in CHAPS supported clinics alone. CHAPS has had a hand through either training or direct service delivery in the majority of the over 1.5 million medical male circumcisions performed in South Africa to date as part of the national HIV prevention programme (October 2014). This makes the South African programme the largest on the African continent. This monumental contribution is attributed to CHAPS’ ongoing VMMC training efforts as well as the dedicated CHAPS-trained VMMC teams from neighbouring NGOs, health and government facilities.

How Medical Male Circumcision works:

Medical male circumcision is a scientifically proven and cost-effective biomedical HIV prevention method. Modelling suggests that for every 5 voluntary medical male circumcision procedures performed in South Africa, 1 new HIV infection is averted (Njeuhmeli et al, 2011). Medical male circumcision, in combination with other HIV prevention strategies, plays a vital role in the reduction of the number of new infections.

The Science Behind MMC:

The inner foreskin is rich in Langerhans cells (HIV target cells). Shortly after sexual exposure to an HIV-positive partner, infected T-cells transfer HIV to Langerhans cells via dendrites that extend to just under the surface of the inner foreskin. The Langerhans cells with internalized HIV migrate and then pass HIV on to T-cells. Infection is exacerbated in inflammatory states associated with herpes simplex virus type 2 and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A high foreskin surface area and tearing of the foreskin or associated frenulum during sexual intercourse also facilitate HIV entry. Thus, by various means, the foreskin is the primary biological weak point that permits HIV infection during heterosexual intercourse (Morris, B. & Wamai, R.). ).

Sources: Auvert, Bertran, Taljaard, Dirk, Lagarde, Emmanuel, Sobngwi-Tambekou, Joëlle, Sitta, Rémi, & Puren, Adrian. (n.d.). Randomized, Controlled Intervention Trial of Male Circumcision for Reduction of HIV Infection Risk: The ANRS 1265 Trial. Public Library of Science. Morris, B. J., & Wamai, R. G. (January 01, 2012). Biological basis for the protective effect conferred by male circumcision against HIV infection. International Journal of Std & Aids, 23, 3, 153-9.

Want additional VMMC information? Please check out the following:

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  •   25 ST John’s Road
         Parktown, Houghton Estate, 2198
  •   010 010 0238
  •   073 665 5220 / 082 776 8959
  •   +27 86 556 4331


CHAPS is one of the largest South African non-governmental organisations (NGO) focused on voluntary medical male circumcision.

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