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Prevention/Epidemiology
Adult Male Circumcision Not a Cost Effective Anti-HIV Tactic, Panel of Economists Says

September 29, 2011

A panel of economists commissioned by the Copenhagen Consensus Centre who "conducted a first-ever cost-benefit analysis of the top AIDS-fighting approaches by comparing the costs of prevention and treatment options per lives saved ... said Wednesday that adult male circumcision, a global priority for preventing HIV infection, is not nearly as cost-effective as other methods of prevention," USA Today reports. "The World Bank and the U.S. State Department support a major push for adult male circumcision," however the panel said that "more cost-effective ways to prevent the spread of the disease are an HIV vaccine, infant male circumcision, preventing mother-to-child transmission of the disease and making blood transfusions safe," the newspaper writes.

The panel estimated the cost-benefit ratio for adult circumcisions to be 23:1, and "said increasing annual spending on an AIDS vaccine by $100 million would be a better investment because it could potentially eradicate the disease, even though the cost-benefit ratio, 12:1, is lower," USA Today writes. However, "Marelize Gorgens, HIV prevention coordinator at the World Bank, disagreed with the economists, saying male circumcision is like a vaccine because it reduces the risk of infection by 60 percent," according to the newspaper (Dorell, 9/28).

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