JAMA study: Thirumurthy's research shows economic incentives can increase uptake of male circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa

Jul 21, 2014

Male circumcision has been proven to be an effective HIV prevention strategy and in 2007, UNAIDS and WHO recommended the scale-up of voluntary medical male circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa. Harsha Thirumurthy tested one scale-up approach with uncircumcised men in Kenya and determined that certain economic incentives can improve the likelihood that a man will choose to become circumcised.

Thirumurthy's research findings were published in JAMA's July 20, 2014 Online First edition.

The conclusion states: "Among uncircumcised men in Kenya, compensation in the form of food vouchers worth approximately US $8.75 or US $15.00, compared with lesser or no compensation, resulted in a modest increase in the prevalence of circumcision after 2 months."

Thirumurthy is a Carolina Population Center Faculty Fellow and an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The research study is administered by the Carolina Population Center and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

JAMA issued this news release about the study: Providing Economic Incentive Results in Modest Increase in Medical Male Circumcision Performed to Help Reduce Risk of HIV. The research study's citation is:

  • Thirumurthy, Harsha, Samuel H. Masters, Samwel Rao, Megan A. Bronson, Michele Lanham, Eunice Omanga, Emily Evens, and Kawango Agot. 2014. Effect of Providing Conditional Economic Compensation on Uptake of Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision in Kenya: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2014.9087.

Several news media outlets have reported on the research findings, including:

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