News / Health

American Pediatrics Group Cites Benefits Of Male Circumcision

Carol Pearson
Circumcision for baby boys was a common practice in the United States but, in the past several years, many parents and health insurance companies have decided against it claiming it was not be medically necessary. Now, a group of American pediatricians says the health benefits of male circumcision outweigh its risks.

In many African countries, adult men are getting circumcised to stop the spread of HIV. That's because research shows that male circumcision can protect both men and their female partners from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The World Health Organization concluded that universal male circumcision in sub-Saharan Africa could prevent close to six million new cases of HIV infection and 3 million deaths over a 20 year period.

Dr. Aaron Tobian, a pathologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine, studied the health and economic impact of circumcision.  "Three randomized trials which are the gold standard of our medical evidence, have shown that male circumcision reduces HIV, genital herpes and human papillomavirus that causes penile cancer," he said.

In Judaism, male circumcision is obligatory.  For Muslims, it's recommended. In other cultures, it's a rite of passage into manhood. During the procedure the foreskin is cut from the penis. Many Americans say male circumcision is unnecessary. Some insurance plans, both private and public, no longer pay for the procedure.

The American Academy of Pediatricians recently issued a statement supporting the procedure. "The task force came to the conclusion that circumcision is cost effective.  Although it costs money to circumcise a baby boy, it also saves health costs related to the reduction in sexually transmitted diseases," said one of the group's task force members, Dr. Douglas Diekema.
 
The pediatric group did not recommend routine male circumcision, but it did say the procedure should be covered by insurance. A study by Dr. Tobian validates the group's findings.
 
"What we found is that just the current rate of decrease of male circumcision from 79 percent to 55 percent over the last 20 years, will increase the United States' health care expenditures by about $2 billion," Tobian said.

Doctors say complications from male circumcision on infants are rare and usually minor. They also say baby boys have far fewer complications than men or boys do when they get circumcised later on.

You May Like

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Works to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Smithsonian senior research botanist Vicki Funk says ultimate goal is 'trying to get one-half of the diversity of plant life on Earth at the genus level in two years' More

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

Report from member of British think tank says Russian extradition requests keep targets from traveling More

US Lawmakers Weigh Turkish Anti-terror Moves

Turkey’s two-pronged campaign against Islamic State militants, Kurdish PKK forces provokes mixed reactions on Capitol Hill More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: hjkl from: Tasmania, Australia
September 07, 2012 4:00 AM
A state in Australia is currently considering law to protect the legality of religious circumcision:
https://theconversation.edu.au/tasmanian-report-calls-for-groundbreaking-reform-of-circumcision-law-9105

by: Mike from: California
September 02, 2012 1:35 PM
So let me get this straight: Genital mutilization is OK because it seems to provide a slight reduction in sexually transmitted diseases among people who have lots of unprotected sex with lots of partners. Hmmm . . . Well, I suppose that is a nice revenue generator for the medical community, but how about teaching every child, male and female, how to properly use condoms and make them freely available? There would also be the benefit of unwanted pregnancy becoming rare and a slow reduction in unsustainable population levels. Just a thought.

P.S. I wish we could comment on all VOA stories.

by: Mark Lyndon from: Manchester, UK
August 30, 2012 9:44 AM
It's really easy to find circumcised doctors who are against circumcision, but surprisingly difficult to find male doctors in favor who weren't circumcised themselves as children. The AAP are way out of line with other national medical organizations, and it's very disappointing that they say this: "Parents are entitled to factually correct, nonbiased information about circumcision" but they provide information that is both biased and highly selective. They simply don't seem to consider that the foreskin might actually be valuable.

How strange that all the health benefits the AAP claim don't seem to exist in Europe, where almost no-one circumcises unless they're Jewish or Muslim.
I suppose it's a good thing they didn't look at operating on girls to prevent breast cancer. 11% of women get breast cancer, and 3% die of it, so the health benefits to the girls would massively outweigh the risks. Meanwhile, other national health organizations including the Canadian Paediatric Society and the Dutch Medical Association continue to recommend *against* circumcising newborns.
In Response

by: paula ryan from: cornwall, GB
September 02, 2012 10:58 AM
Like all intactivists, Mark Lyndon is strong on emotive language and vague dismissive statements but weak on facts.

The statistical evidence for circumcision has built up into a strongly convincing argument - certainly strong enough to convince the World Health Organisation to devote millions of dollars on a circumcision program in Africa. It also shows that the penny-pinching decision of the British NHS to discontinue funding circumcision in the late 1940s was fundamentally flawed. Any statisticians out there care to number-crunch and tell us all how much this has cost the Britich taxpayer, not to mention the deaths and suffering from a range of diseases (including cervical cancer and human papilloma virus) which male circumcision protects against?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs