Mathematical models suggest that 570,000 HIV infections could be averted between 2011 and 2025 in Zimbabwe if the country reaches 80% voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) coverage among 15- to 49-year-old male subjects. Yet national coverage remains well below this target, and there is a need to evaluate interventions to increase the uptake.Methods:
A cluster-randomized trial was conducted to assess the effectiveness of Make-The-Cut-Plus (MTC+), a single, 60-minute, sport-based intervention to increase VMMC uptake targeting secondary school boys (14–20 years). Twenty-six schools in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, were randomized to either receive MTC+ at the start (intervention) or end (control) of a 4-month period (March to June 2014). VMMC uptake over these 4 months was measured via probabilistic matching of participants in the trial database (n = 1226 male participants; age, 14–20 years; median age, 16.2 years) and the registers in Bulawayo's 2 free VMMC clinics (n = 5713), using 8 identifying variables.Results:
There was strong evidence that the MTC+ intervention increased the odds of VMMC uptake by approximately 2.5 fold (odds ratio = 2.53; 95% confidence interval, 1.21 to 5.30). Restricting to participants who did not report being already circumcised at baseline, MTC+ increased VMMC uptake by 7.6% (12.2% vs 4.6%, odds ratio = 2.65; 95% confidence interval, 1.19 to 5.86). Sensitivity analyses related to the probabilistic matching did not change these findings substantively. The number of participants who would need to be exposed to the demand creation intervention to yield one additional VMMC client was 22.7 (or 13.2 reporting not already being circumcised). This translated to approximately US dollars 49 per additional VMMC client.Conclusions:
The MTC+ intervention was an effective and cost-effective strategy for increasing VMMC uptake among school-going adolescent male subjects in Bulawayo.