Published On: 9 November 2023

In the first part of this year, THINK broadened the scope of the Clinical Trial Unit to include a Male Medical Circumcision (MMC) program.

This single intervention reduces the risk of heterosexual transmission of HIV from women to men by about 60%. Further, it reduces the risk of sexually transmitted infections, penile cancer in men, and cervical cancer in female partners of circumcised men.

The successful rollout of the MMC program has been spearheaded by a dedicated multi-disciplinary team. Supported by a technical lead and a program manager, our clinical team – comprised of skilled medical officers, professional nurses, a pharmacist, and enrolled nurses – has been pivotal in executing this initiative. Backed by a robust data team, which is integral in monitoring the program’s performance, our team collaborated seamlessly to offer a program that provided exceptional care and education to our clients – while also making meaningful contributions to public health.

THINK’s inaugural MMC clinic commenced on April 21, with clinics following each Friday until September 29. The result: 77 circumcisions performed. Staff at HQ may all recall the familiar blue scrubs worn by the medical team on Fridays. For some of the clients, it was the first time they’d ever set foot in a medical centre, and as part of the package of service they received counselling, HIV testing, and valuable information on men’s health. The program has been pivotal in connecting HIV-positive men to care and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

The journey has been one of growth and learning for the THINK team, as they acquired new skills and knowledge to execute this life-changing service. The team behind the effective MMC program expresses appreciation for the opportunity to acquire new skills and for the chance to make a positive impact. In the words of nurse Thabisile Gumede: “I can honestly say that in the beginning, I knew nothing, and now I can tell people about this and help do the procedures. I am so thankful.” Nurse Siyabonga Myeza added; “To be part of helping boys become men is something truly wonderful.”

THINK remains committed to continuing its vital role in HIV prevention and overall health empowerment.