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The Case for Circumcision

9:01 pm by | 130 Comments

Plastibell device used for circumcision procedures in newborns.

Circumcision involves the surgical removal of the prepuce, or foreskin, that covers the glans, or tip, of the penis.  A physician, often the attending OB/GYN, performs the simple surgery the first or second day after birth.  Religious or cultural traditions may prompt many parents to arrange for the circumcision of their sons, but research shows that neonatal circumcision has numerous health benefits as well.

Is It Safe?

The safety of the procedure concerns many parents considering it for their newborns.  The procedure is safe provided the facility and practitioner meet certain criteria.  A qualified and experienced healthcare professional should perform the surgery using sterile technique, on a healthy newborn, with no medical issues that preclude it.  Risks associated with properly executed circumcisions are miniscule – 0.2 % to 0.6%.

What Are the Benefits?

The majority of pediatricians agree that circumcision provides your baby with a lifetime of health benefits.  Countless research studies, and empirical evidence, show that circumcision prevents urinary tract infections in infants as well as reduces the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) later in life.  Circumcision decreases the risk of males contracting the following diseases:  human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by up to 60 percent, herpes simplex virus type 2 by up to 34 percent, and human papillomavirus by 35 percent.  Female sexual partners of circumcised males have a 40 percent reduced incidence of bacterial vaginosis and a 48 percent reduction in trichomonas vaginalis infection.

Why Newborns?

The newborn days represent what physicians call the ‘window of opportunity’ for circumcision.  During this period, your son’s system has high levels of endorphins as well as adrenaline and cortisone.  These prepare your son to deal with the stress of the procedure better than at any other time in his life.  Circumcisions performed at an older age open the door for a number of complications and can cost over 10 times more.

How Is It Done?

The physician will apply a local anesthetic to the area.  Methods may include topical anesthetic cream, a ring block, or a dorsal penile nerve block (DPNB). Some physicians recommend allowing the infant to suck on a sugared pacifier to increase endorphin levels and reduce pain. General anesthesia is not advised, except under extenuating circumstances and greatly increases the risks associated with any surgical procedure.  Once the physician applies the local anesthesia, he will use one of three accepted methods to remove the foreskin from the penis:  Mogen clamp, Gomco clamp, or Plastibell.  No evidence exists that favors one of these three methods over the others.

What’s Next?

Afterward, healthcare staff may cover the wound with gauze saturated with petroleum jelly.  Your pediatric physician will provide you with instructions about caring for the area, which you must follow carefully.  Most practitioners recommend cleaning the area several times throughout the day with warm water.  Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to the area after each diaper change.  If your son’s pediatrician has included the application of antibiotic ointment in the post-surgical instructions, use it instead of the petroleum jelly.  The scab usually heals and falls off within the span of 10 days.

Make an appointment at a local pediatric clinic before you give birth to your son and discuss circumcision benefits and risks with a pediatrician. This will enable you to make this important decision ahead of time.

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By Samantha Gluck All Media Freelance, LLC

Samantha Gluck owns All Media Freelance, LLC where she works as a freelance health care journalist. Launched in 2011, the business has grown rapidly, requiring she add four staff writers to the AMF team. Gluck's work is featured in numerous prestigious publications, including the Houston Chronicle and the newly launched Balanced Living Magazine.
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130 comments
Michael
Michael

Correction: Apart from the obvious typographical error I should have noted that I disagree that: ""“No medical organization in the world says that infant male circumcision does more good than harm. I think people should trust what medical organizations say about infant male circumcision more than what Samantha Gluck and individuals say about it.” The WHO for example obviously thinks otherwise or they wouldn't promote infant circumcision in Africa. As regards your cherry picked albeit influential collection that all depends on whether or not they get it right and how much confidence we can have in their policies.

Michael
Michael like.author.displayName 1 Like

Great article. To those who call it mutilation I disagree. The penis isn't the easiest thing on the eye to begin with but I definitely think that circumcised looks better. Besides you guys can't work out whether it is mutilation or cosmetic surgery. Make up your mind! Even if it were otherwise I suspect mutilation is meant as a rhetorical device just like the use of amputation. I note that some medical definitions of amputation don't even fit the removal of a flap of skin (eg. removing an organ enclosed in skin). To those who quote Sorrell's study I note that it was commissioned by an anti-circumcision organisation and a peer review found the results didn't match the conclusions. In this regard, the only reason there is such a flap over the foreskin is that the anti-circumcision groups are lucky to have a very unrepresentative amount of money. The founder of one group is so wealthy that he donated $1million in 2008 alone. That enables a rather unique perspective to get ubiquitously broadcasted and promoted. Getting back to the pleasure issue... the latest research has found that circumcision improves sexual pleasure for men. Getting that flap of skin out of the way does wonders apparently. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/surgical-vaccine-helping-stop-hiv/story-e6frg6so-1226098865549 Pete, Lets be frank any medical organization that believes that there is no clear evidence of a medical benefit from circumcision is not adequately on top of the science. Fortunately a number of medical organizations do recognize that the benefits are possible. “No medical organization in the world says that infant male circumcision does more good than harm. I think people should trust what medical organizations say about infant male circumcision more than what Samantha Gluck and individuals say about it.” That all depends on whether or not they get it right and how much confidence can be had in your cherry picked albeit influential collection. The second most recent policy of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (and current until recently) was prepared by a working party of 5. While discussing circumcision of circumcision of newborn male infants they advised: “The true incidence of major complications after newborn circumcision is unknown but is reported to be from between 0.2% and 0.6% to 2%-10%” The reference for the first range they cited claimed a complication rate in that range and stated that most such complications were minor (not major). I note that this was based on large series studies. One took 10 years. The second reference was a comment in a paper. Its references were to 3 other papers. One was similarly just an estimate citing other papers. Another had a sample size of only 140 and did not specifically deal with newborn circumcision (mean age 4.3). The third is a 1953 paper I have not accessed but I know someone who worked as a nurse in those days and observed a very intoxicated doctor performing the procedure (with mishap). Things have changed a lot since then. The paper the RACP cited for the second range was also an estimate of general complications not major ones. There is no need to assume dishonesty as they might have sourced the information on one of the many unreliable anti-circumcision websites. But can we assume that the information from medical organizations must be trustworthy? It is noteworthy that their only attempt to do a cost-benefit analysis of circumcision used a risk estimate of 2% in spite of the above problem. It considered Urinary Tract Infections. Based on their figures for the incidence it argued that taking a taking a "2% (20 per 1,000) for major complications from circumcision" meant that "for every 1,000 infants circumcised, about eight fewer will develop a UTI but 20 will develop a significant complication." The current policy from (I have heard) an 8 member working party chaired by a paediatric gastro-intestinal specialist holds that the foreskin is the “primary sensory part of the penis”. As discussed above that is nonsense. Again can we just take it for granted that medical organization policies are trustworthy. I say no. If you want opinion from someone with a knowledge of the cutting edge research there is a website from a medical research scientist with 280 published papers on the topic but you won’t like it. www.circinfo.net There is a tiny risk for vaccination and circumcision but both maximise a child's chances of enjoying the best attainable health and are very ethical. Some parents may elect not to do it (typically due to misinformation) and that is their choice but preventative medicine is not only ethical but adviseable.

Ian
Ian

"Adult male circumcision: effects on sexual function and sexual satisfaction in Kisumu, Kenya" A problem with comparing recently-circumcised with neonatally-circumcised men is that recent patients have not had an additional two decades for the glans to harden. This hardening is clearly seen in pictures.

Ian
Ian

Samantha Gluck, your article stated "The majority of pediatricians agree that circumcision provides your baby with a lifetime of health benefits" You did not include the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement on routine infant circumcision in which they do NOT recommend circumcision. There is not a single US, Canadian, Australian, Japanese, European medical association that recommends routine circumcision.

Robert Samson
Robert Samson

It still astounds me that any rational person can even believe that removing the majority of the penile nerves CAN possible INCREASE sensation. We have logic, and it dictates lost nerves = lost sensation. Some people mistake mental issues and baggage issues with reality. BRITISH JOURNAL OF UROLOGY, Volume 77, Pages 291-295,February 1996. The prepuce: Specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision by J.R. Taylor, A.P. Lockwood and A.J. Taylor Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis Morris L. Sorrells, James L. Snyder, Mark D. Reiss 2 0 07 BJU INTERNATIONAL 2007

Ron Low
Ron Low

Samantha Gluck said: ^^ in fact, the largest study to date, in which more than 1,300 healthy adult volunteers were circumcised, reported that 64% of men found that they had increased sensitivity after circumcision. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18761593 ^^ Here's what the actual study says: ^^ rates of any reported sexual dysfunction decreased from 23.6% and 25.9% at baseline to 6.2% and 5.8% at conclusion, in circumcised men and controls, respectively ^^ Do you NOT SEE how worthless this study is? The control group improved more (despite no intervention) than the cut men? Whatever the cause of their improvement, it WAS NOT circumcision. This is a PERFECT example of ignorance, and cherry picking seemingly "scientific" numbers to tell a bold lie. Foreskin feels REALLY good. But no matter what I think or what you think or what any adult thinks about breast augmentation, pierced tongues, lip-stretching plates, or foreskin amputation; nobody has a moral right to force cosmetic surgery on a healthy normal infant. Even if the next 1000 adults you talk to have nipple rings and love them, you can't justify nipple rings for a baby.

Robert Samson
Robert Samson

The moral and ethical bankruptcy of circumcision becomes obvious when the fundamental and crucial questions are asked: Since circumcision has not been proven to be necessary, how does one morally and ethically justify it? How is ANY unnecessary complication, ANY unnecessary pain, ANY unnecessary risks, ANY unnecessary harm and/or damage,or ANY unnecessary deaths from an unnecessary procedure ethically and morally justified?

Robert Samson
Robert Samson

Let's examine Jake's claims closely: "Even back in 1998, Stang and Snellman found that 45% of physicians surveyed used anaesthesia ; however the number is increasing (where is the evidence for this?) and in the most recent study it was found that use of anaesthesia was taught in 97% of cases TAUGHT, but where is the evidence they actually USED it? Jake is trying to show something exists with obfuscation.

Tom Tobin
Tom Tobin

When it is reasonable to remove female genital parts, male circumcision will be reasonable. Ethical? No. Why? Since when has taking something which does not belong to you been ethical? 50% of the skin of a penis? That, indeed, is robbery. Any alleged benefits can be accrued by washing, the same as women do, and by wearing a condom. The solution is not amputation of a healthy body part which belongs to someone else. All these people who say, "I had it done to my sons, and they are fine" make me ill. For each one of them, there is someone in silence, with a hidden penis, scrotum hair on their penis, meatal stenosis, a pitted glans, a painful erection, and a host of other preventable problems. There is no medical justification. Let him make the decision when he's old enough, just exactly like all of his other body parts. Why is circumcision the exception to all logic, ethics, and behavior. You have two kidneys at birth. Try taking someone's baby's kidney, and they throw you in jail, and rightfully so, Why is it OK to rob a man of half the skin of his penis, in the name of studies which are accepted by no accredited, peer-reviewed medical society? Sick stuff. Just put down the knife, and no one will get hurt.

James Loewen
James Loewen

If an adult person is held down against their will and genitally cut this is considered, by law, an aggravated sexual assault. When this same action is done to an infant or child it passes by without the law stepping in because of a tradition of cutting children in this manner. Education about circumcision and its harms, and the benefits of being intact are readily becoming public knowledge, this is reflected in the rapid rise in baby boys (60+ %) who are being left intact in the USA. The doctors who are still promoting genital cutting of children, as you see here, are being willfully ignorant of normal sexual function, normal genital anatomy and the human rights of their unwilling patients. These doctors make a great deal of money slicing erogenous tissue form baby boy's penises, and also selling that tissue to pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies. Parents who hand their perfectly formed newborns over to such charlatans need to be better informed. One enthusiastic supporter here is a known cir-cum-fetishist who eroticizes circumcision to such a degree that he encourages parents to do the same to their children. One day soon this will be looked upon as the abuses to children within the Catholic Church are now viewed. I appreciate that this dreadful article has been posted. It is evidence that another doctor is guilty of ignoring the Hippocratic Oath and proceeding to violate children's genitals under the guise of medicine. Eventually he law will not look kindly at this, public awareness is already reflecting what's to come.

Robert Samson
Robert Samson

Anyone up to the challenge? "Here is the challenge– can anyone provide a single benefit for circumcision that satisfies these crucial requirements?" Comment by Robert Samson — April 6, 2011 @ 9:28 am

Robert Samson
Robert Samson

"“How is death for a complication? Over 100 baby boys die each year in the USA alone from circumcision!” — incorrect, as explained above above." Good, now do you plan on providing data on deaths INDIRECTLY from unnecessary circumcisions? Lying on autopsy reports attributing them to other SUBSEQUENT causes is like saying "he who touched it last, broke it". This is a cop out to say the least. Would you like some DOCUMENTED cases--have quite a few for you, if interested.

Robert Samson
Robert Samson

Hey, Jake would you like some NEWER data? A recent retrospective study was performed at a top hospital in Chicago. Publlshed October 11, 2004, by Peggy Peck, this study is titled "Analgesia Underused for Management of Circumcision Pain". In this study, a researcher went back through 5 years (1999-2004) of hospital records and checked whether anesthetic use had been recorded. Out of 108 circumcisions, only 8 were marked for anesthetic. The researcher couldn't believe it, so they checked the pharmacy charts to see whether anesthetic had been ordered. They found that anesthetic had been ordered from the pharmacy, for only 35%-40% of circumcisions. An excerpt from the study: Of 191 male infants identified in the review of 400 charts, "56% underwent circumcision," ..... ..... All circumcisions were performed by obstetricians. "Dorsal penile block was used in seven infants and subcutaneous ring block was used in one infant,"... ....Another telling finding, he said, was that the medical charts indicated no discussion of circumcision pain management with parents.

Robert Samson
Robert Samson

So, because the victim survives, this is YOUR definition of minor? What gives YOU the authority to create this self-serving definition? Since this is a completely unnecessary procedure, how can you morally justify ANY complication? As for deaths, how can you justify even ONE death? Funny that there are conflicting studies, but YOU believe YOURS are automatically valid and others are automatically invalid..just how is this supposed to work? Gluck quotes that ridiculous risk rate of 0.2 to 0.6% from that idiotic "study" by Christakis who admits that this number is worthless--and which completely ignores more valid evidence that shows much higher risk rates: 1. iatrogenic Phimosis 2.9% 2. Adhesions 71% 3. Meatal ulcers 31% 3. Meatal stenosis 8% 4. infection up to 10% 5. Bleeding <35% BTW, when can we expect you to provide evidence to support your speculation about this "direct stimulation" apologia? Or do you plan on just ignoring those posts you cannot or choose not to address?

Jake
Jake

To respond to a few of the above inaccuracies: "Minuscule, perhaps, Ms. Gluck, unless you are one of the thousands to suffer? Multiply 0.2% and 0.6% times the estimated one million male infants forced to suffer genital mutilation every year in the USA (alone), and how many suffering infants does that make?" -- In fairness, most complications are minor and trivial to treat, so the vast majority of these cases the patient would never know that they had occurred. "90% of infant male circumcisions are done without any anesthetics to healthy (and on some unhealthy) babies." -- this is incorrect. Even back in 1998, Stang and Snellman found that 45% of physicians surveyed used anaesthesia (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9606247); however the number is increasing and in the most recent study it was found that use of anaesthesia was taught in 97% of cases (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16843252). "How is death for a complication? Over 100 baby boys die each year in the USA alone from circumcision!" -- incorrect, as explained above above.

Gregor
Gregor

"I know it is morally wrong, and illogical, but I’m sorry, I can’t date/have sexual relations with an uncircumcised man... I will be having my sons circumcised..." Mandi, it is one thing to have a fetish with a consenting adult, but it is pretty sick to force your sex fetish onto children, especially permanently.

Gregor
Gregor

How is death for a complication? Over 100 baby boys die each year in the USA alone from circumcision! I am glad that other commenters have posted the truth about UTIs and STDs. As a man whom somebody forcibly mutilated just after birth, I can tell you that I am at zero risk for STDs by my behaviour choices! I would much rather be WHOLE the way that God had made me so that I could experience loving sex the way that He had designed it to be. Circumcision leaves the penis almost entirely numb to pleasure, yet irritatingly exposed to friction and pain. Parents and doctors have every duty to protect their children from harms like circumcision!

Frank McGinness
Frank McGinness

Nelson Mandela said his circumcision was blinding white pain of electrical fir that burned throughout all his veins. 90% of infant male circumcisions are done without any anesthetics to healthy (and on some unhealthy) babies. This is just plain old torture worse than the cigarette burning foreskin used by the Viet Con. Really creepy that it is done because the parents like the look of their boy's penis better.

Rood Andersson
Rood Andersson

Ms. Gluck wrote: "Risks associated with properly executed circumcisions are miniscule(sic) ’ 0.2 % to 0.6%." Minuscule, perhaps, Ms. Gluck, unless you are one of the thousands to suffer? Multiply 0.2% and 0.6% times the estimated one million male infants forced to suffer genital mutilation every year in the USA (alone), and how many suffering infants does that make? What about the tens of thousands of genital mutilations, which, according to your lights, are not "properly executed". Don't they count?

Rood Andersson
Rood Andersson

Ms Gluck writes: "Circumcision involves the surgical removal of the prepuce." Better check your dictionary, Ms. Gluck. Surgery is the treatment of diseases, injuries, or deformities. As such, genital mutilation is not surgery. Additionally, there's no such thing as "... a properly executed circumcision." Genital mutilation is genital mutilation. Those who slice into the genitals of helpless infants for fun or profit are guilty of sexual child abuse.

Robert Samson
Robert Samson

"As a result of circumcision the glans penis is exposed to more and more direct stimulation, and as a result sensation is increased.: Jake, all nerves have the same output level once sufficient stimulation is applied, so exactly how is this speculation supposed to work? When one is missing the majority of nerves, their output is missing, so again, where are the compensating sensations coming from--thin air? If you are going to provide a speculation, then you need to provide evidence to support it. WHERE is your evidence?

Robert Samson
Robert Samson

"‘Women are after all the end-users, and their views should be valued.’ Agreed, and with women who experienced both circumcised and normal sex overwhelmingly (87%) preferred normal sex: BJU INTERNATIONAL, Volume 83, Supplement 1, Pages 79-84,January 1, 1999. The effect of male circumcision on the sexual enjoyment of the female partner K. O'HARA and J. O'HARA

Robert Samson
Robert Samson

"Circumcised moaners (I’ve never encountered one!) must be in a minority and have sadly fallen for the lies,myths and untruths of intactvist propaganda." This survey indicated there are 52 million men in the US that are dissatisfied with their circumcision. A Preliminary Poll of Men Circumcised in Infancy or Childhood--T. Hammond, BJU International (83, Suppl. 1), p. 85-92, January, 1999 circumcised intact Satisfied 38% 78% Dissatisfied 20% 3% Ambivalent 41% 17% And this was BEFORE we had proof of the damage done by circumcision.

Robert Samson
Robert Samson

I would like to come to this subject from the perspective of SCIENCE. There are two crucial tests for scientific credibility: 1. Any conclusion or hypothesis must be based on data or a study that is without any KNOWN flaws. 2. Any hypothesis must ALWAYS and to the same degree fulfill its prediction in the real world. Here is the challenge-- can anyone provide a single benefit for circumcision that satisfies these crucial requirements?

keepthemintact
keepthemintact

I cannot believe that Americans are still being fed this tripe about circumcision. Plus the fact there are people ignorant enough to believe it. It wasn't that long ago that girls were circumcised for the exactly same reasons, you have moved away from this... why not boys? Don't you know that the circumcisers of America have formed a collective group to invade articles like this and feed their lies into the discussion. There would be no circumcision in America if it was against the law to charge for it and that as it is major surgery that in the few occasions that it is needed(malformed penis at birth)......that this surgery only be done by surgeons. Their are only two reason why doctors circumcise: 1. Money 2. sexual fetish Any mother wishing to have her child circumcised should undergo voluntary circumcision herself to show that there is nothing to it. One noticeable thing that is promoted by circumcisers is the cleanliness thing, (a childs penis is self cleaning and only needs to be washed externally...same as with girls) ...they push the idea that the mother must force back the childs foreskin to wash, while they know that it causes bleeding, tearing and scarring. This form of abuse causes so many problems that they child has to be circumcised later in life because of the damage. Is it hard to comprehend "Leave it alone and only wash externally"

James Loewen
James Loewen

Forced genital cutting (aka circumcision) of infants and children is medial fraud. Slicing healthy erogenous tissue from someone who cannot consent using bogus "health" claims is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath. Only a quack doctor advocates for this kind of child abuse. Research human anatomy and normal sexual function and protect your child from every grinning idiot advocating to sexually wound your child's body.

mandi
mandi

I know it is morally wrong, and illogical, but I'm sorry, I can't date/have sexual relations with an uncircumcised man. My brain likes what it likes, and emotionally, it seems to me that for some reason I am really attracted to a circumcised penis, and very unattracted to men with foreskin. Whether it's conditioned by US society or not, it is what it is.... For that reason I will be having my sons circumcised when I have them, because I know I am not the only girl who feels this way- in fact- most girls I know do. Great article Samantha.

Antonio
Antonio

Samanha, I was delighted to read first your article and then your CV. As a microbiologist you are well qualified to write a positive piece in favour of circumcision. I'm sorry you have had so much hysterical claptrap posted by intactivists in response. As a male happily circumcised since childhood I feel I speak for the majority of men who were cut without consent in saying let's thank providence, parents and the pediatrician who did it, for making such a sensible decision early in our lives. All the men I've ever encountered and asked (quite a few over the years) seem to share my opinion that circumcision is a good idea and have no regrets. In contrast I've spoken with a few who endured foreskin problems and dearly wished they'd had them removed in infancy. Some have taken the painful later-in-life decision and cursed their parents' choice. Others, (my FIL was one) have gone to their graves with a phimotic foreskin which blighted their and their unfortunate partners' lives - all because they were too shy/embarassed/frightened to seek help. Circumcised moaners (I've never encountered one!) must be in a minority and have sadly fallen for the lies,myths and untruths of intactvist propaganda. Unfortunately they make a noise out of all proportion to their numbers. It is always good when women like yourself become advocates. All the women in my life (admittedly not a huge, but a loving number), have been approving when they discovered my circumcised status. Women's views are objective, men's are subjective. As someone put it nicely; 'Women are after all the end-users, and their views should be valued.' Thank you again for ours Samantha!

Samantha Gluck
Samantha Gluck

Thank you, Antonio: I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts and experience and reading my article.

Jake
Jake

To respond to Tetsu117: "On smegma and cancer, I’ve actually read somewhere that some scientists actually believe that smegma is the carcinogen that causes cervical cancer." -- it's certainly possible, and all three human studies to investigate have found an association between smegma and penile cancer. "It is scientific fact that women also produce smegma, and much more so than uncircumcised men. So then, if what these men are saying is true, women give themselves cervical cancer." -- the mistake you're making here is to assume that male and female smegma are identical, but in fact they are not. Male smegma contains prostatic secretions and sperm cells, for example.

Jake
Jake

"Fact is that the in the real world cutting penis arts off a baby does not reduce HIV." -- I'm afraid you're wrong about that, Jackie. "Really a comparison between EU and US is all that is required." -- as I've already pointed out, such a comparison is scientifically invalid because it doesn't isolate the effect of circumcision.

JackieNO
JackieNO

" Observational studies are inherently prone to confounding, so it shouldn’t be surprising that some get the wrong answer." Fact is that the in the real world cutting penis arts off a baby does not reduce HIV. Really a comparison between EU and US is all that is required. In the real world penis part amputation does not lower HIV.

Tetsu117
Tetsu117

On smegma and cancer, I've actually read somewhere that some scientists actually believe that smegma is the carcinogen that causes cervical cancer. It is scientific fact that women also produce smegma, and much more so than uncircumcised men. So then, if what these men are saying is true, women give themselves cervical cancer. It must be true, because they had some sort of scientific paper that said so.

anon
anon

It has to be asked, what does HIV prevention actually have to do with circumcising infant newborns? The supposed studies in Africa were carried out on adults making their own decisions. What is the reason this is being pushed on babies who are not having sex yet and so aren't even at risk? What man in the right mind would choose circumcision if he had the option of using condoms which are, even according to the studies, more effective? (60% vs over 90%?) The men in Africa made a choice for themselves. What is the reason these studies are being used to take the choice away from babies who will one day grow up to be men who make their own choices? What if the men didn't want to be circumcised? "Oh well?" What if there was "research" that showed female circumcision reduced the risk of HIV? And it was solid as a rock? What if a group of scientists told you they could make it so that your daughter's chances for getting HIV are reduced, without reducing her sexual pleasure, by just cutting the labia and other "unnecessary" parts off? Doctors in the UK and the USA already perform labiaplasties and "unroofing." (On consenting ladies of course.) And it looks like the women enjoy sex, perhaps even more so after the operation! So if a study showed you that you could reduce your daughter's chances for getting STDs AND she'll still enjoy sex, would you consider this for your baby girl? Yes? No? I think that what applies to girls should apply to boys. I have my doubts about the studies in Africa, but even if they were true, it should be up to an adult man to decide what he wants. I think it's sick that studies carried out on adult consenting men are being used to rationalize the circumcision of healthy, sexually inactive children. This is clear science for abuse. Would science make the abuse of baby girls OK? Maybe this is the "window of opportunity" this article talks about? The fact that children are unable to fend for themselves? Babies do not have sex. They are not at risk for STDs, and when they grow up, they can decide what they want, just like the African men. Furthermore, there are better ways to prevent other diseases besides circumcision. Is there a reason this article talks about circumcision as if it were the only option? I think that would have made this article actually fair and balanced. You know, not all parents will want to circumcise. Some parents will want to instead find ways to prevent disease without surgery. Some numbers say that the circumcision rate is down to 33%, but I'm skeptical of that number. I'd say it's more along the 47-50% spectrum. But even so, at least half the parents in this country are choosing to opt out of circumcision. Posting only pro-circ information is marginalizing half the parents in this country. I think the time has come that our media actually published fair and balanced articles that cater to BOTH kinds of parents, not just those who will circumcise. The times, they are a-changin'. What is the media, American medical system doing to provide information for parents who want alternatives to circumcision? Let's see if we could get our dear researchers to look in to that.

anon
anon

Oh! And I see Jake is already making the rounds. And I see that others have already pointed him out. As they always say, one good turn deserves another; people should beware Jake Waskett. He's anything but "objective" and interested in science and health; his interest lies in his sexual obsession with circumcision. He spends most of his time controlling every article having to do with circumcision on WikiPedia, and arguing on blogs, news commentaries and parent forums using selective "science." He is NOT an objective source and his "advice" should be taken with caution. You can read more about him if you google "Jake Waskett" and "circleaks". He is a sad, strange little man...

anon
anon

If you look hard enough, you'll find that there is plenty of scientific evidence that shows that circumcision is worthless, and actually a dangerous distraction. Reports from all over Africa are already saying that the circumcised men feel confident in not wearing condoms because they feel their circumcision alone protects them. There is PLENTY of science, and plenty of relaties that show that promoting circumcision to prevent HIV will have been a huge mistake. It's just that pro-circumcision advocates will always find "confounding factors" in evidence to the contrary. Beware of who is presenting the evidence... or withholding it. Circumcision does NOT prevent HIV. Only proper sex education and condoms do. If circumcision prevented HIV, rates would be lower in the US than in countries in Europe where circumcision is rare. The opposite is actually true. Let's have the "science" address THAT.

anon
anon

"SCIENCE has shown the HIV virus is absorbed into the inner lining of the foreskin within ONE HOUR of making contact" --- Then there should be no trouble for you to show us the "science" where this happens. That HIV is "absorbed" by the foreskin is a hypothesis that has yet to be proven. All of the circumcision "studies" in Africa that supposedly "prove" that circumcision prevents HIV are based on unproven, or completely debunked hypothesis. Show us exactly how HIV is "absorbed" by the foreskin, and "blocked out" by the circumcised penis, thanks. "Oncogenic palpilloma viruses, yes the ones that cause cervical cancer in women are NOT retained on the circumcised penis" --- Again, the science? "NO SEMGMA with the circumcised penis" --- Actually, false. A certain percentage of men still get smegma. Can you tell us about the smegma in uncircumcised vulvas? "These are scientific FACTS and not subjective opinion" --- Yes. And we're still waiting for the "science" that says circumcision actually reduces HIV transmission, and not merely rigged "studies" conducted by long-time pro-circ advocates. "THE SCIENCE IS IN AND IS NOT GOING TO GO AWAY !!" --- The "science," not to mention the realities, are actually stacked against circumcision. Circumcision doesn't do jack sh!t to prevent anything. If it did, it would be evident right here in our own country. I'd like for "science" to address why circumcision "prevents" HIV in Africa, but not the US. "IT WILL KEEP ON COMING AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING THE ANTICIRCS CAN DO ABOUT IT" --- Actually, we'd like for the science to keep on coming. Unfortunately it's filtered through a small pro-circ minority who have managed to hi-jack the WHO and CDC. They've become the foxes that guard the henhouse, the tail that wags the dog. Pro-circ "scientists" and "doctors" are not telling us the truth and giving us all the science. There is plenty of science that shows that circumcision is worthless, it's just that pro-circs in high places have made it so it's not presented. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

freddyeddy
freddyeddy

On December 21,1994, The Clinton administration started the anti FGM law. 18 years later people affected by this law will begin to sue those responcible for braking the law and performing FGM and MGM against their rights. On December 21,2012, everything changes! Just Kidding. But It could happen...

Stop RIC
Stop RIC

ask David Reimer what he thinks of circumcision. Oh,thats right you can't....he's dead. Look him up with google or the search engine of your choice. It's truth,fact,the man is dead and a family destroyed thanks to RIC.

Stop RIC
Stop RIC

deleting the pro-foreskin posts doesn't make the truth that men have been harmed go away.

Stop RIC
Stop RIC

a foreskin is not a birth defect

Stop RIC
Stop RIC

genital mutilation is a violation of fundamental human rights

Stop RIC
Stop RIC

why do you fear the pro-foreskin posts?

Jake
Jake

To respond to JackieNO: "The CDC does not have any data on the referenced web site that says cut men % wise have less HIV." -- incorrect, Jackie. They cite two studies that found such a result. Here is what they say: "In one crosssectional survey of MSM, lack of circumcision was associated with a 2-fold increase in the odds of prevalent HIV infection [24]. In another, prospective study of MSM, lack of circumcision was also associated with a 2-fold increase in risk for HIV seroconversion" http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/circumcision.htm "IN Kenya they just did a study of a group and circumcision status was not associated with HIV or HSV-2 seroprevalence or current genital ulceration. The US sponsored DHS Comparative Reports No. 22 showed that in Africa there appears no clear pattern of association between male circumcision and HIV prevalence. In 8 of 18 countries with data, HIV prevalence is lower among circumcised men, while in the remaining 10 countries HIV prevalence is higher among circumcised men." -- the problem with cherry-picking studies is that you haven't really proved anything except for your own ability to pick cherries. Observational studies are inherently prone to confounding, so it shouldn't be surprising that some get the wrong answer. The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of observational studies (21 of 27 in a 2000 meta-analysis) and all of the higher-quality randomised controlled trials have found that circumcision is protective against HIV. "I am sick of people posting that sexual pleasure before and after prepuce amputation is subjective blah blah blah. The issue is very clear. The parts cut off have stretch and touch sensors. One touches or is touched at these parts, one stretches or one is stretched at these parts and the result is pleasure. Remove the parts, the result is removal of pleasure from ones life for good. What is subjective?" -- I've addressed this above: "the problem with this simplistic argument is the hidden assumption that nerve endings generate pleasure all by themselves. They don’t. Sensation is the product of nerve endings and stimulation, so it is important to consider the mechanics of the penis and how nerve endings might be stimulated. As a result of circumcision the glans penis is exposed to more and more direct stimulation, and as a result sensation is increased. So the question is, what is the net effect? That’s why we need to turn to studies of adult circumcision patients, and they don’t support your hypothesis that circumcision causes a reduction in pleasure."

Gary
Gary

Uncircumcised here and Ive never had any problems at all in 50 years give males the choice . Never teased about it living in the USA . Type in penal adisions and you will see lots of problem with infant circumcision Ive seen one infant that it was a wounder he could even urinate . It made my blood boil and it wasn't even my penis

JackieNo
JackieNo

To determine if circumcision might influence a man's risk of acquiring HPV infection... During the study, the researchers identified 536 different HPV infections, with no difference in risk between the circumcised and uncircumcised men.

JackieNO
JackieNO

The CDC does not have any data on the referenced web site that says cut men % wise have less HIV. Studies in the US including the NAVY study and others show cut guys and natural penis guys with same HIV % wise. Even in Africa with its water problems circumcision does not help HIV. IN Kenya they just did a study of a group and circumcision status was not associated with HIV or HSV-2 seroprevalence or current genital ulceration. The US sponsored DHS Comparative Reports No. 22 showed that in Africa there appears no clear pattern of association between male circumcision and HIV prevalence. In 8 of 18 countries with data, HIV prevalence is lower among circumcised men, while in the remaining 10 countries HIV prevalence is higher among circumcised men. In the real world, cutting parts of a baby bouys penis does not provide protection from anything. As to function and sensation, the function is clear and well known through history -- as is the sensory aspect. Samantha, no one argues that the nerves are not there? That would be wacky. What is your point that you don't get? Can you fess up to not having a clue about cutting penis parts off? I am sick of people posting that sexual pleasure before and after prepuce amputation is subjective blah blah blah. The issue is very clear. The parts cut off have stretch and touch sensors. One touches or is touched at these parts, one stretches or one is stretched at these parts and the result is pleasure. Remove the parts, the result is removal of pleasure from ones life for good. What is subjective?

Tetsu117
Tetsu117

What I find interesting is how after circumcision advocates berate those of us against circumcision as using "emotional arguments," they defend circumcision because it's "religious tradition," or because "he'll be made fun of in the lockerroom." A very good point was made earlier; Cheryl, what do you think of boys growing up circumcised in a country where most boys aren't? It sounds like you think that being made fun of and helping boys conform is a good reason to circumcise anxious teens. But what about when a teenager was circumcised as an infant, because of religious tradition, or because a doctor "recommended" it, and he lives in a country where having a foreskin is the norm and he hates being made fun of in the lockerroom for being different? Would you recommend the boy look into restoration? I think the answer to this would be interesting, but I can almost guess what it is. For boys with a foreskin, your "heart goes out to them" and you gladly assist in circumcising them to fit the norm. But for circumcised boys in say, Europe, or Japan, they should get counceling and accept themselves and not be angry at their parents for having circumcised them, right? What if there were some sort of surgery that gave a child a foreskin? Would you support it? It would really be interesting what the "lockerroom" people have to say about that. I'd wager it's simply another self-serving alibi that allows you to live with your culture, and what you do for a living. In the words of Upton Sinclair: "It's hard to get a man to understand something, when your livelihood depends on your not understanding." Let's hope the boys you helped circumcise don't grow up to resent their mangled organs and to seek retribution from those who facilitated their abuse as a defenseless children.