American Academy of Pediatrics Now Endorses Circumcision

To circumcise or not to circumcise, that is the question that many parents of newborn baby boys have to ponder. Now, the American Academy of Pediatrics have released a new policy endorsing circumcision:

"There is clear evidence that supports the health benefits of circumcision," said Susan Blank, who led the 14-member task force that formulated the new policy being published in the journal Pediatrics.

The statement, and accompanying technical report, marks the first revision of the organization's position since 1999, when the academy backed away from circumcision. At that time, the group, which represents about 60,000 pediatricians nationwide, concluded that there was no clear evidence for or against circumcising newborns. The group affirmed that position in 2005.

Since then, the popularity of circumcision in the United States has declined. Only about 56 percent of newborn males are circumcised.

The academy's task force spent seven years combing through the latest research, analyzing more than a thousand studies. Their conclusion?

For starters, Blank says, circumcision helps baby boys pretty much immediately.

"The health benefits of male circumcision include a drop in the risk of urinary tract infection in the first year of life by up to 90 percent," she says.

But there's a much bigger reason to do it, Blank said. Circumcised males are far less likely to get infected with a long list of sexually transmitted diseases.

"It drops the risk of heterosexual HIV acquisition by about 60 percent. It drops the risk of human papillomavirus [HPV], herpes virus and other infectious genital ulcers," she says.

Link (Photo: Shutterstock)

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The AAP quite clearly says they ARE NOT recommending circumcision. They merely state that the VERY limited set of risks and drawbacks they evaluated do not outweigh the VERY CHERRYPICKED benefits they compiled.

But other medical societies have looked at the same issue and reached the opposite conclusion.

Germany's PAP says it's "a scandal" to allow forced genital cutting of infants. Holland's recent KNMG policy says infant circumcision has "an absence of medical benefits and danger of complications." Perhaps not coincidentally, in places where doctors are on salary rather then getting paid per procedure, they don't find the procedure warranted.

Foreskin feels REALLY good. HIS body, HIS decision.
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The STD argument makes sense for grown men, but not infants. Men who wish to decrease their risk of STD infection can choose to get circumcised when they come of age.
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Many countries have circumcision rates approaching zero, with no significant incidence of the diseases noted. Conversely, there are African nations where circumcision is more widespread than the US and the diseases are much more widespread. Personal hygiene, education and condom use are far bigger influences on the incidence of STIs than circumcision. If you clean it, protect it and don't stick it where you shouldn't, your risk of infection goes way down. Cutting pieces out of the body of newborn children without their consent isn't the answer.
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Having a mohel suck on your baby's freshly-mutilated penis can also cause your baby boy to be infected with herpes and die. Or just be infected with herpes.

Circumcision is one of those religious ritualistic procedures that would never stand on its own, so it is just rationalized by touting negligible benefits. Good on a German court for recently recognizing this and basically outlawing the practice.

Not to venture off-topic, but circumcision is right along the lines of a certain motorcyclist demographic that wear patches on their leather vests proclaiming, "Loud pipes save lives!"-- while the helmets they refuse to wear are proven to save a lot more lives than the magical-thinking rationalizations behind how being noisy and obnoxious might theoretically save their lives.

Sure, circumcision might reduce incidences of certain filth-related conditions. You know what else would reduce incidences of filth-related conditions? Good hygiene. Just saying.
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How about people circ their baby boy if they want to or don't want to and everyone else can mind their own damn business about it.
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