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

    Vietnam Mulls Tough Measures for ‘Misbehaving’ Chinese Tourists

    Move comes after footage surfaced online of Chinese travelers harassing a banana hawker in Da Nang

    Pakistan Social Media Star's Honor Killing Fuels Debate

    Qandeel Baloch's murder puts spotlight on deadly tradition and other mistreatment of women

    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.
    Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Borderi
    X
    July 22, 2016 12:30 AM
    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.
    Video

    Video Number of Syrian Refugees Arriving in US Jumps

    The United States is committed to resettling 85,000 refugees from around the world by October. Of that number, 10,000 will come from Syria and already some 4,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the United States, many of them settling in the state of Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from Chicago, their arrival is not the end of a difficult journey to find peace and stability.
    Video

    Video Rio’s Trams Await Olympic Tourists

    Over the past century, many cities around the world replaced electric trams, prone to breakdowns and backups, with faster and more spacious buses. But for some reason restored antique trams are a huge tourist attraction. So it’s no wonder the authorities in Rio de Janeiro are busy restoring their city’s old tram line ahead of the Summer Olympic Games. VOA’ George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora