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 Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.