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Should You Circumcise Your Son?

There's new evidence out today that men who are circumcised are less likely to get infected with sexually transmitted viruses.

Previous research had found that men who were circumcised were 50 percent to 60 percent less likely to get infected with the AIDS virus. Now, researchers have found that circumcision also significantly reduces a man's risk of being infected with the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), which causes genital herpes, and the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause genital warts in men and cervical cancer in women.

Circumcision does not, however, appear to protect against the bacterium that causes syphilis, according to the study published in today's issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Health in Baltimore and at the Rakai Health Sciences Program and Makerere University in Uganda.

The researchers examined data collected by two studies involving 3,393 uncircumcised men in Uganda ages 15 to 49 who initially tested negative for both HIV and HSV-2. The men were then circumcised, one group immediately and another two years later. After six, 12 and 24 months they were tested for HSV-2 and syphilis. A smaller group of men were also evaluated for HPV at the beginning of the study and again two years later.

Those who were immediately circumcised were 28 percent less likely to get infected with HSV-2, and 35 percent less likely to get infected with HPV, the researchers found.
It remains unclear why circumcision would protect against HSV-2 and HPV; but it is possible that small tears that occur in the foreskin, which is removed in circumcision, might make it easier for the viruses to infect a man.

In an editorial accompanying the findings, Matthew Golden and Judith Wasserheit of the University of Washington argued the findings should "prompt a major reassessment of the role of male circumcision." About three-quarters of U.S. adults are infected with HPV, which causes about 4,500 deaths from cervical cancer among U.S. women each year, and an estimated 25 million Americans are infected with HSV-2, which accounts for an estimated $1 billion in medical costs each year, they noted.

While almost 80 percent of U.S. men are circumcised, the pair noted that circumcision rates have been declining in the United States and are the lowest in the black and Hispanic populations -- which have the highest rates of HIV, herpes and cervical cancer.

What are your thoughts? Do you have reservations about circumcising your son?

By Rob Stein  |  March 26, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Motherhood , Teens  
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Comments

I thought about it for a very long time when I found out I was pregnant with a boy. I tried to gather the widest range of opnions and research as I could. But in reality, it came down to two things:

1. The earliest studies about the decrease in HPV, HIV, and STD transmission rates were coming out at the time. All signs pointed to circumcision reducing these things.

2. My father had not been circumcised as a baby, and had difficulty with his foreskin being too...tight, I guess, as an adult. He was circumcised at 24. He said it was hell and he'd never want to put anyone through that if possible.

I know the circ was painful for my perfect, beautiful newborn baby, and I asked the doctor to use the local anesthetic most appropriate. He told me a topical was the best, as the amount of local injected anesthetic that would be necessary would be more painful than the circ.

However. It's done. He doesn't remember it. The doctor did a beautiful job. And if I have another boy I'd probably do it again.

Posted by: Mazarin | March 26, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Totally irresponsible study to go along with that headline.

A study of Ugandan men...of the world's true cesspools of human tradgedy...hardly warrants a credible study for Western nations...particularly the United States.

No study here has credibly shown anything similar and it is a travesty the POST would give such a flawed study prominent space in this newspaper/web site.

At the very least -- throw the word UGANDA in the headline.

Posted by: pelham1861 | March 26, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

We had our son circumcised but if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't. After being appalled by stories of female circumcision, I found I couldn't come up with many differences other than intent. In fact, there doesn't seem to be much reason for male circumcision at all except for "that's what we do". The results of these studies don't change much (a condom seems a much better preventative measure than circumcision).

Posted by: darkhorse3113 | March 26, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I think that it depends. Are females circumcised in Uganda? If they are, then this study has little to do with what would happen in the US.

Posted by: niceday971 | March 26, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Pelham's posting. How can we compare the US with Uganda of all the dirty, disease holes on earth. If this is to be credible in the US, the study should be done again IN the US. I am not circumsized and would never maim a son of mine if I had one. And I have never been infected with any of the mentioned diseases. What a crock of a story!

Posted by: swyork | March 26, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

I had reservations. The doctor acknowledged that medically, there was a trade off of risks. His advice was that psychologically, it made sense to circumcise a child if his father had been circumcised and not to if his father had not been. I thought that made sense.

Posted by: SarahBB | March 26, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

And we are talking about small percentages of already small percentages. If you read the study, the incidence of HSV-2 infections in the circumcised group was 7.8% compared to 10.3% in the uncircumcised group. That tiny difference (2.5%) doesn't really justify the procedure. The differences in HPV percentages are higher, but the authors acknowledge (in the supplemental information section) that that part of the study had some problems.

Posted by: ogs123 | March 26, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

wow...the "scalp the penis" crowd just doesn't give up!

Posted by: patriot76 | March 26, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Regarding the question of whether circumcision effectively decreases the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases, the practice shouldn't need to be included in the debate. The most effective prevention of STDs is abstinence before marriage and fidelity after. It is possible, it is realistic, and it provides for happier and more successful marriages across the board.

Posted by: jdan1 | March 26, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

The tragedy of circumcision is that it creates circumcisers.

A woman is not equipped to make such a decision for a baby, literally. Stop doing this because other people do it, think for yourself, your son will thank you later.

The only reason it is done to babies is that no sane adult would agree to such a barbaric practice. And if a doctor's only solution to a tight foreskin is to cut it off, then you should seek a second opinion.

If the concern is STDs, condoms provide better protection, not to mention the #1 factor: smart choice of sex partners.

Posted by: MLuther | March 26, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Too late now ...

Posted by: jimward21 | March 26, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

My wife gave birth to our son in December. We knew it was a boy months before and discussed circumcision. I am circumcised and have never had any issue with being circumcised but I was very much against doing the same to my son since I have never read anything to make me believe there is any real benefit to doing so. My wife was on the fence about it but after doing some research she agreed with me. The funny thing is how other parents we've met reacted to our decision. For many circumcision is just a given and they never considered whether it is in fact necessary or not. I don't believe circumcision to necessarily be a "barbaric" practice but it is an outdated one and should not be done simply because the parents didn't think about whether it should be done.

Posted by: chibbs2000 | March 26, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

As long as the free world has an abundance of clean running water there is no reason why a woman should authorize the disfigurement of her baby boy. Of course any doctor or group routinely exercising this procedure will be dealt with accordingly. At 61 years of age I am not circumcised and I thank God my long-since deceased mother had the common sense of adhering to her beliefs.

Posted by: mikelliott | March 26, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

to prevent dental cavities, you can have all your teeth removed.

jimward's "too late now" is, unfortunately, the case for many males.

as mazarin stated, some men are afflicted with a too-tight foreskin. there is such a thing as partial circumcision in which the foreskin is snipped parallel to the penis shaft. this reduces the tightness while retaining the protective nature of the foreskin.

as for sarahbb's "psychological" benefit, sorry but that's rubbish as are all the other "reasons" for circumcision. in my opinion, it's a question of lining doctors' wallets.

Posted by: mischipotles | March 26, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I am, my son isn't . . . without commenting on any other issues involved -- I just don't see a problem with him being different from me in this way. He's different from me in lots of ways. It's a two-second explanation: Yes, son, Daddy is different; his got sliced off; we didn't want to slice yours off. Do you think we should have? No? Okay, then, let's move on. Go get dressed, we're late.

Posted by: fallschurch1 | March 26, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm circumcised, but I had an open mind about whether to circumcise my son. While my wife was pregnant with him, I tried to do research on the web, and the first site I found was the "male genital mutilation clearinghouse." There's a lot of anti-circumcision propaganda on the web - it seems to be a preoccupation among some members of the gay community especially. But I've never had a problem getting stimulated without a foreskin, and there are small but significant hygienic benefits to circumcision. So, with confidence in my wife's doctor, we let him circumcise our son before we left the hospital. He used a topical anesthetic, and the baby was back in five minutes. He nursed and fell asleep as if nothing had happened. I've heard a horror story from a friend whose son was injured by an incompetent mohel, so I'd recommend care in choosing who does the procedure. But I've also heard a horror story about someone whose foreskin was infected, requiring adult circumcision, so infant circumcision seems neat and easy by comparison.

Posted by: pundito | March 26, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

What's particularly interesting about this batch of responses -- at least so far -- is that no one (women included) is reacting to the study findings on the incidence of cervical cancer in women.

From the data among black and Hispanic populations, it's clear that having sex with uncircumcised males significantly increases a woman's risk of developing cervical cancer. Why, then, would any reasonably intelligent and informed woman want to do this?

As with all discoveries and developments in medical research, those affecting men get serious attention and funding. Breast cancer research languished for years because it affected only (or virtually only) women, but as soon as prostate cancer began getting a lot of press (mostly because of improved testing protocols and a few celebrity men who told their stories), research funding for prostate cancer went over the moon. Never mind that prostate cancer develops and spreads at a snail's pace, is easily curable, and rarely kills its victims. It's a cancer that affects men, and that's all anybody needed to know. Open the coffers!

Well, it seems to me that the message of this most recent research is loud and clear: it's dangerous to women's health to have sex with uncircumcised men. In fact, it can cost them their lives. (And note here that the reverse is not true; having sex with an uncircumcised woman does not put a man at risk of disease or death.)

So I suggest that women -- especially younger women with longer lives ahead of them -- think carefully about this risk when deciding whether to have sex with uncircumcised men. If women refuse to endanger their lives and their health in this way, attitudes about universal male circumcision may change.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 26, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

kjohnson said, "Well, it seems to me that the message of this most recent research is loud and clear: it's dangerous to women's health to have sex with uncircumcised men."

with all due respect, i think the message is loud and clear: insist on your partner wearing a condom.

Posted by: mischipotles | March 26, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The article failed to discuss the often-made claim that male circumcision destroys thousands of sexual-pleasure nerve endings and greatly diminishes a man's enjoyment of sex.

One circumcised poster here wrote that he has no trouble "being stimulated". But he has no way of knowing what he may be missing, because, having been circumcised in infancy, he never had the opportunity to compare his sexual pleasure in both his uncircumcised and circumcised conditions.

On the other hand, I've read an account by a man who was circumised well into adulthood. He wrote that after his circumcision his sexual pleasure was greatly diminished, sex was never again the same for him, and that he greatly regretted having had the procedure.

Personally, I think nature is wiser than those who try to improve her work with a scalpel.

Posted by: norriehoyt | March 26, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Let me say first that my husband and sons are not circumcised. But while my son was in the NICU for a few days after birth I heard two nurses talking about another infant in the unit.

The first nurse said, "come look at this, I think there's something wrong with this circumcision." The second nurse came over, tsked and said "yes, that's not right, but there's nothing that can be done about it now."

Ouch. I was never so glad that I hadn't circumcised my boys.

We don't live in Uganda, and my boys will know how to use a condom. I don't see that circumcision is of much benefit to them, and I see a lot of potential downsides to the procedure -- as that conversation in the NICU brought home to me.

Posted by: MichelleF1 | March 26, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I was circumcised at 9 years old. I had to get it through...and frankly, glad I did. I had been reading for years that circumcision actually reduces bacteria buildup that could cause problems, not only for the male, but the woman he's having sex with. So when the info came out on the reduced chance of contacting an STD, I was relieved. It doesn't kill the fact you can get one, but if you take care of yourself, you can stave of alot of problems when circumcised.

If not, strap up guys.

Posted by: cbmuzik | March 26, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

We decided not to circumcise our son, born in 2007, because it didn't seem like the benefits outweighed the risks. The AAP recommendation was certainly a factor. I have also gotten the sense that a lot of people in the US have a bias toward circumcision that they are eager to justify. Regarding this study, I wonder if they adequately controlled for exposure to STDs--as some posters have noted, adult circumcision is painful, and I would guess the circumcised men were not as sexually active as the intact men for some time afterward. I also wonder if the fact of being circumcised led to changes in their sex lives--if they were in an area where most men were intact, perhaps they would be ashamed to show themselves. The article claims to have adjusted for changes in sexual practices, but this is tricky to measure, since people may not be honest about such things. Because sex is a social act, I would be hesistant to say that results in one culture would be the same in a different culture. I appreciate the public health arguments, but the circumcised men still got the diseases (8% vs. 10% HIV; 18% vs 28% HPV). In the US most men are circumcised already and we still have an STD problem, so clearly this is not a solution. I am also sensitive to the human rights issues involved--how much of a benefit is necessary to remove a body part? Knowing these results does not make me want to circumcise our son--clearly, prevention with abstinence and condoms is the most important thing with respect to STDs.

Posted by: JJ13 | March 26, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Genital mutilation is wrong unless the person gives consent.

Posted by: jake14 | March 26, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

A previous post says:
"Regarding the question of whether circumcision effectively decreases the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases, the practice shouldn't need to be included in the debate. The most effective prevention of STDs is abstinence before marriage and fidelity after. It is possible, it is realistic, and it provides for happier and more successful marriages across the board."

Welcome to the Board Sarah!!

I would like to see more research on this issue. In the real world, people have sex without condoms. When they do, does circumcision have any effect on disease transmission? This is just one study. Hopefully there will be many more studies to see if the effect is real or whether this was a bad study.

Posted by: Renu1 | March 26, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Something that seems to be missing from this discussion is the rights of the male child. Circumcision is an elective procedure that permanently alters the sexual organ of a male child. What makes parents think they have a right to do this to their boys? Unless the procedure is required to correct a medical condition, it should be banned by law for anyone under 18. When the boy turns 18, he can make the decision for himself whether it is in his best interests to be circumcised.

Parents who say that they've had this procedure done just because everyone else does are sickening. Using what is essentially peer pressure to justify a drastic medical procedure is ridiculous. It doesn't matter whether the child will ever remember the pain. They have to live with that decision for the rest of their lives.

This study is questionable at best, but it comes as no surprise to me that pro-circumcision people use it to bolster their claims. They've already come to the conclusion that circumcision is a good thing, often for underlying religious reasons, so they jump at any study that reinforces their beliefs.

Posted by: patrick25 | March 26, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Would you please get compareable data from the Scandinavian countries as well where cirumcision is likened to abuse, more or less. What are their numbers as far as STD's are concerned?

Posted by: TePa | March 26, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Circumcision of male infants is a barbaric practice which is unnecessary if boys are taught proper methods of keeping clean.

Such decisions regarding circumcision should be left to the boys themselves to decide if that's what they want done to their bodies after they become adults.

Women are very active on having the right to decide what is done regarding their bodies. This is a clear issue of American social hypocrisy.

Posted by: book134 | March 26, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Among the many problems with this insanely one sided presentation and study on massively biased population:

- Removing tissue to prevent it getting infected is a dubious accomplishment. Why is female circumcision so denounced while male circumcision is not? If some form of female circumcision were shown to reduce STDs, would it be adopted?

- Circumcision is not a zero risk procedure. Sometimes, though very rare, it even kills the child. The Journal of Urology* states that the rate of accidents is 1.5% to 15%.

* (Baltimore), vol 153, no 3 part I (March 1995: pp 778-779)

Posted by: tweldy | March 26, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

It's absolutely amazing that so many people can be so willfully ignorant when it comes (no pun intended) to the male member.

Tweldy's comments are the latest example:

"Why is female circumcision so denounced while male circumcision is not?"

Do you read, tweldy? Are you able to learn information and retain it? Male circumcision has a basis in promoting health and reducing the risk of disease -- for both the man and his sexual partners. Female circumcision is done EXCLUSIVELY to eliminate a female's ability to enjoy sex. Done primarily among Muslim populations, it reinforces the idea that women are owned and operated by the men in their lives -- from requirements for veiling to prohibitions on interactions with non-family men (physicians and teachers included) to ritualistic "honor" killings. Female circumcision is simply way to keep women confined on the periphery of their lives.

To repeat: Uncircumcised women do not pose the threat of disease and death to their male sexual partners.

"Circumcision is not a zero risk procedure. Sometimes, though very rare, it even kills the child. The Journal of Urology* states that the rate of accidents is 1.5% to 15%.
* (Baltimore), vol 153, no 3 part I (March 1995: pp 778-779)"

The article you've cited here is 14 years old -- ancient in medical research years. The specific statistic you've given also is misleading, as the actual statement is: "The fairly high rate (1.5 to 15%) reflects the fact that the procedure is often performed by an inexperienced individual without attention to basic surgical principles." And the source of this conclusion is actually a different paper, published in 1983 (Urologic Clinics of North America, Volume 10, Issue 3, 1983, Pages 543-549), which makes the information 26 years old. (Even so, the 1983 paper stresses that "virtually all...complications are preventable with only a modicum of care. Unfortunately, most such complications occur at the hands of inexperienced operators who are neither urologists nor surgeons."

So, in addition to providing evidence that is ridiculously out of date, you've also demonstrated that complications are a problem only if performed by a non-surgeon or non-urologist.

Afraid you're out of gas on this one, tweldy.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 26, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Europe, where most men are uncircumcised, have one of the lowest HIV rates in the world, while in the US, where most men are circumcised, has one of the highest HIV rates. The loss of sensitivity caused by circumcision is not worth it. It is cruel to circumcise baby boys. Mothers, ask yourself whether you'd have your daughters circumcised if a study showed that in Uganda women who had been circumcised were less likely to contract HIV. Would you have your own genitals mutilated if a study showed it to decreased your chances by a few percentage points?

Posted by: hawaii1 | March 26, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Other then health...a darn good reason to have it done is...well...undone ones are ickie!

Posted by: snowbucks | March 26, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

"The loss of sensitivity caused by circumcision is not worth it."

If our male-dominated, testosterone-driven, and highly sexualized society is any indication, I'd say that there's no lack of "sensitivity" to speak of! It's hard to credit the idea that circumcision ruins men's sex lives when we are constantly surrounded and bombarded by advertising and entertainment images and messages designed to arouse men (80% of whom are circumcised).

Come off it, guys!

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 26, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

[quote]If you read the study, the incidence of HSV-2 infections in the circumcised group was 7.8% compared to 10.3% in the uncircumcised group. That tiny difference (2.5%) doesn't really justify the procedure. [/quote]

Check your math. The difference upward from 7.8% to 10.3% is 32% not 2.5%.

Posted by: Th3Watch3r | March 26, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"Would you have your own genitals mutilated if a study showed it to decreased your chances by a few percentage points?"

Women have themselves mutilated all the time to increase their attractiveness to men. They have their breasts, noses, faces, eyelids, necks, hips, and even labia mutilated.

It's called plastic surgery.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 26, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The majority of circumcisions in this country are performed by non-urologists. Obstetricians (who, to be fair, are surgeons) perform the vast number infant circumcisions in this country. But that's all immaterial.

The real point: Advocating circumcision to avoid STD transmission is stupid.

It's off-the-charts irresponsible to suggest circumcision makes unprotected sex "safer" in any meaningful way. Even after circumcision, HIV transmission risk is still very real. The only difference? Instead of having unprotected sex 10 times before you contract HIV, you'll need to have sex 20 times.

Net outcome: people will still spread HIV. And with any luck, uncircumcised men will think they're "safe" and have more unprotected sex than before. Thus, more spread.

What makes this argument even dumber is that we already have INCREDIBLY EFFECTIVE ways to prevent the spread of STDs. When correctly used, a condom blocks transmission 95+ percent of the time. It has no side effects, causes no pain and no controversy.

I'm sure if we compared transmission rates among circumcised and uncircumcised men who routinely use condoms, there would be NO APPRECIABLE DIFFERENCE.

Posted by: smomin1 | March 26, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The only cruel thing I can think of is being the only one in the lockerroom shower in high school whose penis looks like an aardvark nose. It's not 20% uncircumcized either. Don't fool yourselves. I never once saw an uncircumcized person in high school or college sports lockerrooms. Ever. I have one son and he is circumcized. I have 3 stepsons who are NOT circumcized. They were never taught to pull the skin back to use their penis for anything. Their dad didn't find it important to let them know not to pee through their foreskin or that they should probably clean the cheese out of them occasionally.
And yes, I'm sorry, but you men with uncircumcized penises look really disgusting naked. Just my opinion, and one shared by every female I've ever known...

Posted by: Th3Watch3r | March 26, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Love the racism and fearmongering on this board. Discounting a scientific study because the study subjects were African? Classy. Equating male circumcision with female genital mutilation, the only purpose for which is to ensure women cannot experience sexual pleasure (actually, that's the *best* outcome of FGM)? Revolting.

Posted by: northgs | March 26, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

tweldy said: Why is female circumcision so denounced while male circumcision is not?

Is this a serious question? They aren't done for the same reason. One is to stop the woman from receiving pleasure during sex. Is that really your comparison. I think you need to know more about that which you speak before you pipe up with uneducated comments.

Posted by: Th3Watch3r | March 26, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I think nature is wiser than those who try to improve her work with a scalpel.

Posted by: norriehoyt


Tell that to your Appendix...

Posted by: Th3Watch3r | March 26, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Interestingly, when you look at the raw data table in the study, there are some issues. While in Table 1, the rates of condom use were similar between the control group and intervention group (demonstrating good randomization), Table 2 of the study demonstrates that condom use was significantly greater in the intervention group (i.e. circumcision group) compared with the control group at 6 months(p

Posted by: RogerAlvarez | March 26, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"And yes, I'm sorry, but you men with uncircumcized penises look really disgusting naked. Just my opinion, and one shared by every female I've ever known...
Posted by: Th3Watch3r | March 26, 2009 2:57 PM"

Sorry, guys. Gotta agree with Th3Watch3r. Totally.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 26, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

And another thing...

There is a certain sexual act -- beloved by men -- that most women are totally unwilling to engage in with an uncircumcised penis.

Parents of newborns may want to give that some thought before deciding to pass on the circumcision. Will your son thank you for consigning him to a life devoid of the above-described pleasure?

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 26, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Despite visions of Homer Simpson running in true terror through his garage, I believe choosing circumcision places us on a very slippery slope if the rationale is reduction in the incidence of STDs.
Why not just 'bobbitize' all men, eliminating the penis entirely? Would this help reduce STDs ENOUGH? Or, since the problem wouldn't be completely wiped out, would we then see studies appearing that STDs could be further reduced by just eliminating men .. perhaps a study in a women's prison and to be sure, a women's prison with only female guards?
Think before you cut, it could be the start of something...well, lesser.

Posted by: bgreen2224 | March 26, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

kjohnson3, get over yourself.

My husband is uncircumcised, I don't find his penis "icky" in the least. Furthermore, you can take my word for it that he is not going through life "devoid" of any sexual act "beloved by men". Lighten up on all the doom and gloom. It's intolerant and silly.

And to Th3Watch3r, my husband grew up uncircumcised and he has told me that his status was a total non-issue in the locker room as a teenager -- and he wasn't the most popular guy at the time by any means. Plus the percentage of uncircumcised boys out there has gone up dramatically since then, so it's even less of an issue now.

One has to wonder about the value of circumcision when this sort of silliness constitutes the best arguments people can come up with for being against it.

Posted by: MichelleF1 | March 26, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"One has to wonder about the value of circumcision when this sort of silliness constitutes the best arguments people can come up with for being against it."

Actually, Michelle, if you had read more than just the last few postings, you'd have seen the "best arguments" for male circumcision:

1. Significantly lower risk of AIDS transmission.

2. Significantly lower risk of infection from herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2; cause of genital herpes).

3. Significantly lower risk of transmitting the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause genital warts in men and cervical cancer in women.

Hmmm...let's see. Protection against two killer diseases and one debilitating disease. Worth the risk of having sex with an uncircumcised man? Not on your life, honey.


Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 26, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

If I'm not mistaken, the primary reason today for circumcisions is Religious.

Posted by: vigor | March 26, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

"kjohnson3," those points have already been addressed: condoms and sex partner choices. When weighed against unnecessary and non-consensual surgery, the choice is clearly in favor of God's design.

You have a strange definition of 'significant'. If you think the greatest risk factor to a woman to get STDs is if the man is circumcised, you are beyond help. Please take your pro-circ agenda somewhere else, we're not buying it.

Posted by: MLuther | March 26, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

"Should you circumcise your son?" How would you like the words "Should you circumcise your daughter?" But what if "studies showed" that the removal of the labia "reduces STD transmission?" There are already studies that say precisely that. Why don't they get a spot in the Washington Post? The answer is because we are morally opposed to it, but not male circumcision. For male circumcision, we actually grasp at every straw; there simply MUST be some redeeming quality to permanently mutilating your son.

There is nothing NEW about these "studies." They're the same re-hashed crocks that came out 2 or 3 years ago. At best, they suggest that circumcision is NOT an effective prevention method. The conclusion would still be that males should not be having unprotected sex, employing the use of condoms.

These studies were conducted on grown MEN who made a conscious CHOICE to undergo circumcision. How does the author of this article make the leap to say that it is related in any way to the circumcision of newborn children, who aren't even at risk for STDs? Even if these "studies" were true, shouldn't it be up to an individual male to decide for himself what measures of "protection" he wants to take? Isn't it unethical to simply assume he'll want to grow up to chose the less effective method of protection? What if he wants to choose condoms, and/or choose to be faithful to his wife instead?

The study is wrong because instead of coming out and saying that condoms are more effective, the authors go on to purport what they were aiming to purport all along; proclaim their "study" as an alibi for infant male genital mutilation.

The BS stops here.

Posted by: kogejoe | March 26, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

kjohnson3,
Women in countries that do not circumcise, say, the UK, Japan, Germany, etc. aren't suffering a cervical cancer epidemic. Could you explain that please?

"[FGM and MGM] aren't done for the same reason. One is to stop the woman from receiving pleasure during sex. Is that really your comparison. I think you need to know more about that which you speak before you pipe up with uneducated comments."

"Male circumcision has a basis in promoting health and reducing the risk of disease -- for both the man and his sexual partners. Female circumcision is done EXCLUSIVELY to eliminate a female's ability to enjoy sex."

Actually, male circumcision started in the US to prevent men from masturbating. It was a deliberate attempt to curtail a man's sexuality. TODAY all the medical fluff exists to try and legitimize maiming males, but no, the basis of circumcision in America was NOT medicine. Its basis was religious crap.

And talk about "piping up uneducated comments." Where do you gather your information on FGM? I'm sure you've seen one. I'm sure you can actually compare FGM and MGM side by side and substantiate your claim that "one is worse." CAN you? Or are you merely pulling stuff out your asre?

The fact of the matter is, no, FGM doesn't elliminate sexual pleasure in the male. You don't sound too educated on FGM, as no, not all FGM is infibulation. Most FGM consists of the removal of the labia and/or clitoral hood. Infibulation, or "pharaonic" circumcision is actually quite rare. Google "A Cutting Tradition" and read the article. I believe that it is YOU who must be informed.

Posted by: kogejoe | March 26, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Actually, women in Africa claim that they can too feel sexual pleasure. THEY don't feel mutilated in anyway. Does that legitimize FGM?

"Women have themselves mutilated all the time to increase their attractiveness to men. They have their breasts, noses, faces, eyelids, necks, hips, and even labia mutilated.

It's called plastic surgery."

And you know what the difference between that and taking a child and mutilating his genitals is? It's called CHOICE. Women that want to conform to the norms of what our society calls "beauty" make a conscious choice to go in and spend the money to have themselves hacked at. NOT so with FGM and MGM.

Shouldn't there be a medical reason to remove ANY healthy part of the normal human anatomy?

"Uncircumcised women do not pose the threat of disease and death to their male sexual partners." Actually, there are some scientists that would beg to differ.

And actually, no. Circumcised or not, if a woman has HIV, she does TO pose the "threat of disease" and death to their male partners. People should be using condoms and remaining faithful to their partners, not playing Russian Roulette, cutting themselves and hope for the best.

Posted by: kogejoe | March 26, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

"if you had read more than just the last few postings, you'd have seen the "best arguments" for male circumcision."

These arguments suggest at best that perhaps circumcision would be a viable option for an informed ADULT MALE to make. WHY he would choose to rely on a method that is less effective than a condom is beyond me, but either way, it would be HIS choice.

None of these "studies", if valid at all, would legitimize the circumcision of infant boys, who aren't even at risk for STDs.

"1. Significantly lower risk of AIDS transmission." Even if this claim were true, 40% of the men in Africa still contracted HIV. Circumcision does NOT protect against HIV; it slows it down at best. Bottom line; circumcised men would need to use condoms anyway.

"2. Significantly lower risk of infection from herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2; cause of genital herpes)." These studies are shoddy, but let's just give them the benefit of the doubt. Even so, a significant "risk" would still be there.

"3. Significantly lower risk of transmitting the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause genital warts in men and cervical cancer in women." How relevant is a "lower risk" when there is an HPV vaccine called Gardasil? In this case, wouldn't it be MEN who would have to watch out for WOMEN with HPV? The answer is still the same. The best measure would be a condom. It would be foolish to forgo them with complete strangers. These claims are moot.

"Hmmm...let's see. Protection against two killer diseases and one debilitating disease. Worth the risk of having sex with an uncircumcised man? Not on your life, honey"

So "honey," are you telling me you'd risk bare-back sex with a circumcised man? Let me rephrase that. Would you have sex with a circumcised man knowing full well he has all these diseases? Or do you only "trust" these studies as far as using them to legitimize the genital mutilation of little boys?

Posted by: kogejoe | March 26, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

"And yes, I'm sorry, but you men with uncircumcized penises look really disgusting naked. Just my opinion, and one shared by every female I've ever known..."

So since when was "I find normal penises disgusting" a medical reason to circumcise healthy human boys? Since when is it ethical to circumcise children because YOU find the circumcised penis to be "sexier?" Since when are people's opinions on ANYTHING medical rationale to maim the healthy?

Don't doctors need a medical warrant before they can mutilate healthy, non-consenting individuals?

What if I thought labia were ugly? That they look like used up bubble-gum?

To circumcise innocent children because others find it sexy. That's the same principle behind female circumcision and foot-binding. Satisfying a fetish is no medical rationale for violating another person's individual human rights.

Let HIM decide what measure of protection he wants for himself. Let HIM decide if he finds his penis to be "ugly" or not. HIS body, HIS decision.

Posted by: kogejoe | March 26, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Circumcision reduces the incidence of STD's?

I'm sure the Pope opposes it.

Posted by: moosejerky | March 27, 2009 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Apparently the press is in favor of penile circumcision. I've read several articles on this subject from different sources, and none of them bother to include any opinions of dissent against these recent studies. Isn't fair journalism supposed to include opposing views?

I was circumcised as a baby, and over the years I've come to feel rather angry about it. It's not because of the pain from the surgery—I don't even remember it. What I'm peeved about is that I've had issues with the scarred skin that remains being less resiliant to skin problems. So how can a doctor tell me that I'm better off? It's also an aesthetic issue. I would rather be intact the way nature made me. How about a study where men who are circumcised are asked how they feel about it, both those with STDs and those without?

Even though I can imagine that it's true that circumcised men are less likely to contract STDs, I would rather see the medical community focus on educating boys and men about proper hygeine and condom use, instead of just taking it upon themselves to perform an irreversible surgery "for our own good".

Posted by: mmarth | March 27, 2009 5:42 AM | Report abuse

I think the story here is that some US medical professionals are so obsessed with trying to find a purpose for circumcision that they are fudging data and overestimating insignificant facts. This particular study was partially funded by our tax dollars and by Bill and Malinda Gates. Odd that this 20 -30 % change of risk, where cut men used condoms more and cut men certainly did not have sex some of the time is considered at all. In another Gates funded study HIV positive men and their wives showed CIRCUMCISED men were passing HIV to women at a higher rate. But that study was a dead end so they don’t talk about it. The end of course is to promote circumcision. In particular it is to widen the base in the USA. The US, due to the internet was slowly realizing that not only does circ not make you healthy, it can cause all sorts of problems. People also realized (and in the pre-internet days natural men did not talk about it) that circ removes about 20,000 fine touch nerve endings and the most sensitive part of the male genitals. It is like losing your lips or your fingertips. You may ask why do these people push this barbaric ritual as a health practice?
If you had advocated something, and done something to thousands and it was revealed as bad, it is a natural reaction to defend it. This also applies to men that have been cut. NO man wants to hear that there member somehow has a problem. This also applies to mothers that had their son cut. There is this huge body of resistance to natural in the US. People must recognize the obsession of the medical people. None of this data, if it was not cooked up (and it is at least indefinite as condoms, behavior, sex - they did not know everything) is worth ripping and chopping off a baby boys most sensitive part in a developed country that has good water.
Someone said this obsession and this push for mutilation is hate or anti male sexuality, I think it based on embarrassment and an obsession with trying to find a reason to do this amputation. Let us Americans at least ask the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Neonatal [male] Circumcision when they review the policy on circ to have at least one natural male doctor (Someone that knows first hand the joy of these body parts that are amputated) included in the review as well as at least some consideration for the function and make up (thousands of fine touch nerve endings) of these parts. That would be the minimum.
The real story is the obsession (as a UK med said on this story) of American circumcisers trying to keep the practice going in the USA. You see they have skin in this and they want the practice to continue, as otherwise they would be shown to be heinous genital mutilators.

Posted by: jackno1 | March 27, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

"If you think the greatest risk factor to a woman to get STDs is if the man is circumcised, you are beyond help."

MLuther,

If you think this sentence is readable, then you are beyond help.

Nevertheless, I'll reiterate my point. Having sex with UNcircumcised men has been found to significantly increase the risk of developing CERVICAL CANCER.

In case you were not clear on this, CERVICAL CANCER is a deadly disease.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 27, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

kjohnson3
Male circ is all about reducing male pleasure, This has been clearly noted in Jewish tradition (look it up) and it is THE reason it caught on in the US. kjohnson3 did you know that feamle circumcision cuts the HIV transmission from men to women by over 50%. Isn't it time that you were snipped.

So a study in filthy Uganda where the cut chose that and then had sex less and used condoms and only redued the rate from 10% risk to 8% risk is worth taking a males most sensitive genital partS with over 20,000 nerve endings? You kjohnson3 have an agenda nad it is not pro male sexuality. I don't think it is health.

Posted by: jackno1 | March 27, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

"The loss of sensitivity caused by circumcision is not worth it."

If our male-dominated, testosterone-driven, BLA BLA BLA ...Come off it, guys!"

This person has a problem. The natural male has about 20,00 fine touch nerve endings in the various parts of the so called "forskin." These are lost to circumcison. Maybe your post shows the opposite, these poor men with sex on the brain but defective members need the stimulation. Come ON kjohnson3

Posted by: jackno1 | March 27, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

As a 30-something male who was circumsized at age 26, I can assure you that the sensitivity decreases DRAMATICALLY after the procedure. My urologist strongly recommended the procedure due to my discomfort caused by a tight foreskin (a relatively rare occurence). He didn't give me any other options, and I was too anxious to get a second opinion. I now wish I had. Don't get me wrong - the sensation is still great after the circumcision, and the procedure went perfectly (although it was excruciatingly painful). But I've since had other doctors tell me that it was unnecessary as there are alternatives to dealing with that condition without having to resort to the surgical procedure many doctors (and apparently the US public at large) seem to automatically assume is normal and necessary.

Even having gone through the pain of the procedure, I'm so glad my parents didn't make that decision for me and I wouldn't make that decision for my son. If most US men realized the sensation they lost because of circumcision, trust me - the procedure would be rare (as it is just about everywhere else on this planet).

Posted by: antarc | March 27, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

It is interesting, but not particularly surprising, that the hysterical, screaming rants on this subject are nearly incomprehensible. If you guys are going to post opinions in a major American newspaper, it would behoove you to learn some basic grammar and sentence structure so that you don't come across sounding like idiots.

As to the subject at hand, get over it. You're acting like you've been cruelly deprived of sensation and orgasms all your lives and that your masculine identity has been irretrievably damaged as a consequence.

Women who are subjected to circumcision ARE deprived of sexual sensation because what is removed (in most cases) is the clitoris. This would be analogous to removal of the male penis, not the male foreskin.

All this whining is ridiculous -- and not very manly. If one of you actually wants to come forward and claim that you've never had a sex life because you were circumcised at birth, feel free to enlighten us.

Somehow, I don't think this will happen.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 27, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

"So a study in filthy Uganda where the cut chose that and then had sex less and used condoms and only redued the rate from 10% risk to 8% risk is worth taking a males most sensitive genital partS with over 20,000 nerve endings?"

Would someone please translate this sentence?

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 27, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

kjohnson3, I think most of us here would agree that you are the major source here of hysterical, screaming rants.

The study involved here changes the chance of getting the disease from something like 10% to 7.8%. In simple terms for you that is like changing the bullets in the gun at your head from 10 out of 100 chambers to about 8 out of 100 chammbers. As many have noted, the study is at odds with a US study that said only number of sexual partners and not circumcsion is an HPV factor. See also the last New Zealand study.

How can anyone argue that this observation, in a bad hygine and poor water availabilty place, is worth cutting off the most sensitive part of a BABY male's genitals? We do have a good water supply here.

So to you a clitoris is important for pleaure? And yet you would deny another human a body part that has more fine touch nerve endings and is the major source of pleasure of the genitals?

I think you need to back way off and stay away from the knife.

Posted by: jackno1 | March 27, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"So to you a clitoris is important for pleaure? And yet you would deny another human a body part that has more fine touch nerve endings and is the major source of pleasure of the genitals?"

Jackno1,

Please study anatomy and physiology before you ask asinine questions.

In human physiology, the clitoris and penis are essentially equivalent as sex organs -- stimulation of each is what brings humans to orgasm.

So, if you excise either of these, the person loses the ability to become aroused and to experience orgasm.

From a lifetime of personal experience, I can promise you that I've never encountered a circumcised man who didn't absolutely adore having sex -- or, when not having it, then thinking about it. This tells me that their nerve endings were more than adequate for their purposes and that they were pretty darn happy with their equipment.

Conversely, removing a woman's clitoris eliminates those critical nerve endings completely and renders her incapable of becoming aroused and, by extension, of having an orgasm.

Please try very hard, this time around, to understand the difference.

As to your appalling bigotry and small-mindedness regarding less-developed nations, I'll leave that to other readers to sort out.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 27, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Saying any male genital part is essentially equivalent to another is the asinine thing to say. Some say the female clitoral hood and the male rigid band, frenum, foreskin tip and outer skin are analagous but one can immediatly see that anaolgy does not go far. One can compare nerve endings, which at least is somewhat objective (the male parts amputated have more nerve endings). The point is that both the male male rigid band, frenum, foreskin tip and outer skin and the female clitoral hood and clitoris are pleasure zones. The male that is circumcised has lost his main pleasure zone.
Most FGM (all of which is abhorent) does not remove the clitoris. Most FGM victims say what you have said viz. MGM they have orgaims and absolutely adore having sex.

The point is you oppose the loss of pleasure for one sex (and I agree there) and yet you are in favor of the loss of pleasure for the other sex (I disagree on that one).

Please try very hard, this time around, to understand our differences.

Posted by: jackno1 | March 27, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

We should always follow what the experts tell us. If you have a boy ( or heck even a girl) circumcise, and be sure to pick up some ADHD drugs for the little ones as well. Or you could follow the money. There is profit in them there foreskins ya know !!

Posted by: robertwhitten | March 27, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Thirty two years ago I refused to have my son circumcised. Needless to say I took some flak but stuck to my guns. We live in a temperate region with modern plumbing and plenty of soap and water. Customs dictated by primitive desert cultures don't strike me as a good reason for surgery or infant mutilation. In fact using 6000 Ugandan men doesn't strike me as a random study.

Posted by: HLMORIN | March 27, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

One of God's little mistakes [like the whole female plumbing system]. Why not lop it off?

Posted by: thrh | March 27, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

It is largely a religious issue, at bottom. Like female circumcision. If you want to mutilate your male spawn, why not the females, too?

Posted by: thrh | March 27, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

I looked back at recent US data and surveys and they did not get much press. This Uganda study with the low % difference is all over the media. A recent US cohort study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases showed only the total number of lifetime sexual partners affected the risk of new (incident) HPV infections and there was no difference in the risk of new (incident) HPV between circumcised and natural men.
In May of 2008 a medical survey showed Uncircumcised (natural) Fared Better as Circumcision appeared to have an effect on rates of genital warts:
* 4 ½% of circumcised men reported having genital warts
* 2.4% of uncircumcised men reported having genital warts-- again in the US.

How do they make such a big deal; out of the Africa study when the US data shows at least infant circumcsion does not help avoid new HPV infections?

Posted by: jackno1 | March 28, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

It would seem to me that the pro-cutters like the "experts" mentioned in these studies, as well as those who conducted and funded it are trying to justify their position with statistics. The relative risk (RR) here is only about 1.25 for those who are uncircumcised and the gold standard for circumcision to be considered a valid intervention to prevent STDs should be greater than 2. In other words, uncircumcised men would have to be twice as likely to get an STD. RRs less than 2 aren't generally accepted because too many other factors, including statistical error, come into play. Thus, the 20% for HPV/HSV, or even 50-60% for HIV doesn't "cut it" (pardon the pun). I suspect that there is lots of money for the medical industry in circumcision through billing insurance and medicare, as well as selling the foreskins which are a source of collagen for some cosmetics. They are miffed that Americans are finally starting to wise up to the fact that circumcision isn't necessary and are looking for new reasons to continue this barbaric practice.

Posted by: gouZgounis | March 28, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"In fact using 6000 Ugandan men doesn't strike me as a random study.
Posted by: HLMORIN | March 27, 2009 9:44 PM"

But a study using 6000 American men (preferably white) would be fine, right?

How, exactly, do you think your anatomy differs from that of a Ugandan man?

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 29, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow, so much hysteria.

It's a personal, family decision, that should be made privately and is no one else's business.

I have a hard time with guys who go through adulthood pissed at their parents for "mutilating" them as babies. The parents made the best decision for their family at the time, given their religious tradition, family history, and medical knowledge. It's not as if these guys are incapable of having a successful and satisfying sexual relationship. Their insistence that they were robbed of orgasms that might be a few degrees more intense than they already are doesn't cut it for me. If an orgasm that might rate a 95 on a scale of 0-100 as opposed to one that rates maybe a 98 is worth an adult lifetime of anger and resentment, then I guess have at it, but I don't want to hear it.

During all the years that I worked in surgery, I cared for many patients having circumcisions, from infants (not newborns) to older adults. Aside from the babies, who usually hadn't had the procedure done as newborns because they were preemies or ill, virtually every other case was the result of infection or inability to retract the foreskin. There are a lot of people in the US (yes, the US, not just Uganda) who are seriously impaired when it comes to hygiene. Their sons are never taught some basics, such as foreskin care or brushing teeth. Both come back to bite you later, sooner or later. And the surgery is NO fun for these older kids and adults. There are risks from the anesthesia, whether local or general, and after that anesthesia wears off, it's painful.

Yes, I had my son circumcised. He was born before this became the hot-button issue it is today, and though I was amenable either way, my husband wanted it done and I agreed. (This was before I got into the medical field myself.) It was done within 24 hrs. of his birth, he was brought right back to me, and he nursed fine and never showed any signs of being in pain. And while I don't quiz him in detail these days, he doesn't seem too dissatisfied with his sex life.

Get over it, folks. Take care of your own families, and let others make the decisions that work best for them.

Posted by: sally1860 | March 29, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

The problem now is that circumcision will no longer continue to be a choice. I have nothing against parents who choose to do it, though I am very happy that mine did not. With this new study and the one a couple of years ago that claimed that circumcision prevented HIV infection, I can see it becoming compulsory like many vaccines now are, though some are of questionable value and safety. There is big money to be made here when you consider that there are 2 million baby boys born each year x $500 (minimum) for each circumcision = $1 billion! I have never had any problems and am completely STD free. Keeping it clean and using condoms works just fine. And no, you can't say that what is good for Ugandans is good for everyone - there is a very high rate of HIV infection in Sub Saharan Africa, and I imagine they have a higher rate of other STDs as well. The US has a higher rate of HIV infection and STDs compared to Europe where most guys are uncut.

Posted by: gouZgounis | March 29, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

kjohnson said, "Well, it seems to me that the message of this most recent research is loud and clear: it's dangerous to women's health to have sex with uncircumcised men."

Welcome to 2009. The Gardisil HPV vaccine has been out for awhile. Even if your intact male/cervical cancer theory held water and wasn't 1970s circumcision propaganda, vaccinating women is far more logical and effective than your stone age blood ritual.

Posted by: eatspam88 | March 30, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"It's not as if these guys are incapable of having a successful and satisfying sexual relationship. Their insistence that they were robbed of orgasms that might be a few degrees more intense than they already are doesn't cut it for me. If an orgasm that might rate a 95 on a scale of 0-100 as opposed to one that rates maybe a 98 is worth an adult lifetime of anger and resentment, then I guess have at it, but I don't want to hear it."

Right on, Sally1860! Literally, I'm OTFLOL.

This is the point I've been trying to make with these guys, and you got it just right.

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT A COUPLE OF PERCENTAGE POINTS PLUS OR MINUS IN THE DEGREE OF "WOW!" THAT A GUY ACHIEVES IN ORGASM?

Posted by: kjohnson3 | March 30, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

THE BIG DEAL IS THAT MEN DIDN'T SIGN UP FOR GENITAL MUTILATION, THE DEAL IS THAT ALL BOYS AND GIRLS DESERVE GENITAL INTEGRITY!

THAT'S THE POINT!

Posted by: latinamomof3 | March 30, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

kjohnson3, you are arrogant beyond belief.

Who are you to decide how much penis a man ought to have? Who are you to tell a man that he should be happy with less than the whole thing?

Maybe you'd have some credibility if someone strapped you to a board and started cutting on you.

Posted by: eatspam88 | March 30, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Q: Should you circumcise your son?
A: Only if you'd circumcise your daughter.

It's called equal human rights. If a moist penis is more condusive to diseases, then so is a moist vagina. It's UNETHICAL and barbaric to say it's ok to carve on a boy's genitals and but not on a girl's. Say NO!!! to your money-hungry doctor when he asks you if he can carve up Jr's wee wee.

Posted by: nocircsandiego | March 30, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Th3Watch3r "the genius" said:
[quote]If you read the study, the incidence of HSV-2 infections in the circumcised group was 7.8% compared to 10.3% in the uncircumcised group. That tiny difference (2.5%) doesn't really justify the procedure. [/quote]

Check your math. The difference upward from 7.8% to 10.3% is 32% not 2.5%.

You should check your math, "genius". Out of 100 men, only 7.8 circumcised ones got an HSV-2 infection while 10.3 uncircumcised ones did. The difference is 2.5 more men out of 100 (or 2.5% more). I know that the increase from 7.8% to 10.3% is 32%, but those kind of "increased" percentages are totally misleading and useless when they apply to very small percentages.

Posted by: ogs123 | March 30, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

This is crazy!!!!

Are they saying three-quarters of the US is un-circumcised and responsible for spreading HPV and AIDS????

I would guess only 10-15% of the US is un-circumcised. They slice us all here and scare woman into slicing their boys, in an effort to make more money for healthcare and doctors. ALMOST EVERY COUNTRY agrees, circumcision is NOT NEEDED!

Let the child decide, when he is old enough. And teach him how to wash and bathe properly, for Gods sake!

Posted by: raphaelsmp | March 30, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

I have to wonder if Americans have lost all logic and/or common sense.

Why all the brouhaha over a small study with a minuscule number of cases for a short period of time?

We already have a HUGE study (hundreds of millions) with large number of cases (hundreds of thousands) and for 100 years.

It is called REALITY. It encompasses the population of the US vs the population of the rest of the industrialized world..and the results are in..

Circumcising American has higher rates of ALL STD's than does the rest of the industrialized world...empirical evidence-the highest form of evidence.

Those advocating circumcision for STD's are deliberately ignoring this empirical evidence, and Americans- through stupidity, a lock of logic, obsession for circumcision, or gullibility is unthinkingly going down the irrational road.

The rest of the industrialized world doesn't seem to take these studies very seriously, so Americans, WHY are you?

Posted by: tandy2 | March 30, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I would like to dispel this notion that Americans have that many later circumcisions are necessary. In countries not obsessed by circumcision and are educated on the care of the normal penis, and treat them medically as they should- the rate is incredibly low..

First of all, for a man who was not circumcised as an infant the chances of him having to get circumcised as a adult are extremely rare. In fact it's only 6 in 100,000. (0.006%)

Health officials of each Scandinavian country were queried about adult circumcision.. None of the health officials could provide precise data, because the numbers were so small that they weren't worth compiling. Each official stressed that foreskin problems were present but said they were largely treated medically-surgical solutions were extremely rare.

"in Oslo, Norway, over a 26-year period in which 20,000 male babies were cared for, 3 circumcisions were performed-a frequency rate of 0.02%.

In Denmark. 1968 children up to the age of 17 were examined over a period of several years. In this group, 3 circumcisions were performed-a frequency of 0.15%. In this study, in retrospect, the physicians believed that all three operations might have been avoided. Both of these studies related to the infrequency of circumcision and puberty, they did not deal with the issue in adulthood.

Wallerstein, Edward, Circumcision: An American Health Fallacy. pg 128

In Finland -- a non-circumcising country -- the operative rate is only a tiny fraction of this percentage. A male's risk of being circumcised for any reason during his entire lifespan is less than one in 16,000.

http://www.fathermag.com/health/circ/circumcision/circumcision4.shtml

The Finnish National Board of Health provided national case records for the year 1970 for both phimosis and paraphimosis. A total of 409 cases was reported for males 15 years and older,which represents only
2/100ths of 1% (0.023%) of the total male population in that age group. This means that 99.97% did NOT develop a problem. Moreover, according to Finnish authorities, only a fraction of the reported cases required surgery– a number too small to reliably estimate.
Wallerstein, Edward, CIRCUMCISION: AN AMERICAN HEALTH FALLACY p.128

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=269

Posted by: tandy2 | March 31, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

1) I'm tired of circumcised men trying to justify cutting parts off other people's bodies. Babies aren't going to be getting any STI's before they're old enough to decide for themselves whether or not they want part of their genitals cutting off. It's their body; it should be their decision.

2) These latest studies are from Africa. A 29 year study of males in New Zealand showed a slightly *higher* rate of STI's among circumcised men:
http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(07)00707-X/abstract

3) If we found out that cutting off part of a girl's genitals reduced her risk of contracting an STI, would that make it acceptable?
This study shows exactly that: http://www.ias-2005.org/planner/Abstracts.aspx?AID=3138

If female circumcision had caught on in the USA (it was promoted in medical papers till at least 1959, and practised till the early 70's), and western researchers were now looking for benefits of female circumcision as enthusiastically as they are looking for benefits of male circumcision, we'd now be getting news articles about how female circumcision help prevent STI's. It wouldn't mean that there aren't better ways to prevent STI's, and it wouldn't make it right.

News just in this week: A jury in Atlanta has awarded $1.8 million to a boy whose penis was severed in a botched circumcision five years ago. The Fulton County jury also awarded the boy's mother another $500,000.

Posted by: Humanist3 | March 31, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Circumcision offers no 'protection' against any disease for men or women, 'protection' means 99% or greater.(The HPV vaccine trials proved 99% protection against the targeted strains)

Look at the various circumcision and STD studies in detail and there is no consistant finding amongst any of them. Study after study keeps coming up with different results. For example this study found no difference for syphallis yet other studies did. Why? The same discrepancies occur in study after study with a range of different diseases. Why?

A 'little bit' protected against some diseases but not others is meaningless, circumcion may at best delay infection it will never prevent it.


Any other medical procedure offering such limited, unpredictable 'protection' and with the costs and level of risk involved would normally be dismissed with a great deal of skepticim by the scientific community but circumcision research it seems has moved beyond science into farce and deception hijacked by interest groups with dubious motivation.

To recommend circumcision based on these findings without acknowledging the discrepancies with other trials shows up these researchers true interest, to shore up support for neonatal circumcision.

Posted by: asy123 | April 1, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

"To recommend circumcision based on these findings without acknowledging the discrepancies with other trials shows up these researchers true interest, to shore up support for neonatal circumcision."

Even worse is their ignoring that their conclusions are contradicted by the empirical evidence in the real world.

It's all about keeping circumcision rates high and the coffers of the medical industry filled...or something more personal and pathological.

Posted by: tandy2 | April 1, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Every child has the right to decide over their body when they reach consenting age. Circumcision permanently alters a FUNCTIONAL part of the male sex organ. Every mammal on earth, aside from bats, has a foreskin. It is there for a reason! If a man doesn't like his he can make that decision when he is of consenting age, however, less than 1 in 500 men would choose to amputate their foreskins. His body, his choice.

Posted by: latinalonestar | April 1, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

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