Data from many high-burden countries show that men, particularly those ages 24-35 years, access HIV testing and treatment at low rates. Therefore, many men living with HIV do not know they are HIV-positive, endangering their own health and helping fuel the spread of HIV among adolescent girls and young women.
PEPFAR is committed to expanding access to HIV prevention and treatment for men. These efforts includes supporting specific male-friendly strategies for HIV service delivery, such as dedicated men’s corners at existing health clinics, scaled up HIV index testing, expanded clinic hours, and deeper community engagement to better reach men.
As of September 30, 2018, PEPFAR has supported 18.9 million men and boys with voluntary medical male circumcision, a one-time, low-cost intervention shown in randomized controlled trials to reduce men’s risk of HIV by approximately 60 percent, with the prevention effect maintained for life.
At the 2018 International AIDS Conference, PEPFAR joined the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Unitaid, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, and Gilead Sciences to launch the MenStar Coalition. Announced by Sir Elton John and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, MenStar supports innovative approaches to deliver appropriate and effective HIV/AIDS services for men, increasing their rapid uptake of HIV testing, linkage to HIV treatment, and achievement of viral suppression.
Under MenStar, multiple approaches are being deployed including: data analytics and human-centered design to better adapt services to men; nuanced demand creation; targeted marketing; innovations, such as HIV self-testing; and supply-side solutions. The partnership is also ensuring that essential HIV commodities and services are available to meet increased consumer demand. MenStar brings together the HIV service delivery capacities of the public sector with the consumer-oriented marketing acumen of the private sector to optimize efforts in reaching men with HIV testing and treatment.
In support of MenStar, PEPFAR is investing over $800 million in the first year to reach an additional 1 million men with HIV treatment and support over 90 percent of men ages 25-34 years to be virally suppressed to effectively interrupt HIV transmission.