The New York Times examines the "controversy" that began last week when the CDC announced it has "been mulling over whether" to recommend voluntary male circumcision for populations including, "infants and even adult men who are at risk for HIV." The article reports that "public health experts are making a pretty strong scientific case that cells in the foreskin act as a magnet for HIV and, as such, may increase a man's risk of acquiring the virus from an infected woman if he is uncircumcised." According to the Times, there are also "critics with deep moral and fundamental objections to operating on a baby's healthy genitals for any reason before the child is old enough to understand or give his consent; they say the harm is irreversible." The article also discusses the history of male circumcision and whether the practice "would make a significant dent in the HIV/AIDS crisis in this country" (Rabin, 8/29).
A related San Francisco Chronicle editorial states, "CDC should ignore the cries of outrage from so-called 'intactivists' and recommend" routine voluntary circumcision for male newborns. The Chronicle continues, "evidence shows that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks." In addition, "[s]tudies have shown that circumcision can reduce HIV infection rates for heterosexual men by half," the editorial states, adding, "This shouldn't even be controversial" (8/31).
This information was reprinted from dailyreports.kff.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily U.S. HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery at dailyreports.kff.org.
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