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CDC Considering Mandatory Circumcision for Baby Boys to Stop Spread of HIV

8 comments

The Centers for Disease Control are currently considering making routine circumcision mandatory for baby boys born in the United States. Circumcision is considered a method of reducing the spread of the HIV virus.

The recommendations are extremely controversial, however, recent research shows that circumcised men in African countries that are severely affected by AIDS, had half the rate of infection when compared to uncircumcised men. Critics of mandatory circumcision argue that mandatory circumcision places infants in a position where they are forced to undergo a medically unnecessary surgery without being able to give their consent. Nevertheless, CDC experts continue to argue for all infants to receive the procedure. Specifically, they maintain that any method to prevent the spread of HIV is a step in the right direction.

It is difficult to say how much mandatory circumcision would affect the rate of HIV infections, as many men in the U.S. are already circumcised. In fact, 79% of adult males are circumcised in this country. Additionally, little evidence exists to suggest that mandatory circumcision would dramatically reduce the number of homosexual men affected by HIV.

8 Comments

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  1. msreason says:
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    I am 100% against strongly encouraging parents to routinely circumcise their newborn boys.

    Here are my reasons:
    More and more people are realizing that the United States being the only Westernized country with the majority of boys being circumcised for non-religious reasons is wrong in its thinking.

    The foreskin, which is a healthy body part that serves a major function in protecting the glans of newborns, belongs to the owner. Parents and doctors should only concern themselves in the VERY rare event that there is an anomaly necessitating the modification or removing of the foreskin. This is a civil rights issue. In our country, we have seen lawsuits filed against doctors and parents by young men who have been circumcised against their will. I believe there will be an increase in this activity. We have laws against modifying female genitalia, why not protect males as well? This is a double standard. The female genitalia is responsible for spreading and harboring disease, yet we protect females. “Circumcised” females would also be cleaner and lead to higher reductions in transferring disease.

    The foreskin protects the glans, keeping the skin of the glans soft and sensitive. This is a major plus during sexual activity, whether it be masturbation, intercourse or other activity.

    The foreskin has some 20,000 nerve receptors, providing more sexual satisfaction for the male.

    The removal of the foreskin often has adverse results. Many men say they feel robbed because they find a hardening of the skin on the glans leading to less sensitivity. Many men feel robbed because they did not have the choice to choose between having and not having a foreskin. Circumcision also leads to too much or too little skin being removed. Too much skin removed leads to painful erections. Too little removed leads to re-circumcisions and penile skin adhesions. Also, the instance of meatal stenosis is high.

    The act of circumcising a newborn is painful. Even though there are guidelines strongly recommending proper anesthesia, many doctors use no anesthesia or use Emla Cream which is not recommended by the manufacturer or the AAP. Imagine, the pain of feces and urine stinging the open wound over the week to ten days it takes to fully heal.

    A study that was unveiled on the opening day of the CDC Convention in Atlanta showed very clearly that mass circumcision would not make a dent in the number of HIV/Aids cases in the United States. Almost all of the cases are derived from male-to-male sex and dirty needles.

    There is a belief that uncircumcised males suffer from an elevated level of urinary tract infections. Yes, there is a slight elevation compared to their circumcised counterparts, but still below the incidence of urinary tract infections in baby girls.

    There is a belief that uncircumcised males will get penis cancer. As you know, it is VERY rare to see penis cancer in an uncircumcised man.

    There is a belief that chlamydia is spread by uncircumcised males. It is a rampant disease with no relation to circumcision status.

    It is said there is a slight increase in cases of syphilis and gonorrhea instances in and transference from uncircumcised males to others. It is important to note that these are slight increases.

    As a country, we need to closely observe why in several European countries, circumcision rates are under 10% and HIV rates are also minuscule. I imagine it is because of more education of youth and adults so that protective actions are taken prior to sex. Unprotected sex is the problem, not the foreskin. The CDC’s energies would be far better spent on massive education on how to have safe sex and about the need for abstinence if protection isn’t used. Let’s say the cost of circumcision is $300.00 and let’s say that all insurance companies and all state Medicaid programs covered neonatal circumcision. In one year, a million circumcisions would cost $300,000,000. That is a lot of money that could be put into education and the availability of free condoms. And, because this program would not be aimed solely at circumcision (which would have only a slight positive effect of the spreading of disease) we would see a major downturn in all types of diseases and in children being born out of wedlock and in other non-planned pregnancies. We are talking about BILLIONS of dollars in benefit every year.

    Leave our foreskins alone. Appreciate all of the positive aspects of leaving little babies intact. Should a young man decide he wants a circumcision, then it becomes his choice. In writing a recommendation, clearly state the true statements regarding the minor benefits of circumcision, but instead of recommending universal circumcision of baby boys, stress what needs to be done in preventing contact between infected and unifected people and stress the need for medical screening of sexually active teens and adults to identify and treat STD’s.

  2. Robert says:
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    There will be no call for “mandatory” circumcision. It may or may not be included as an upcoming recommendation from the CDC, but the CDC has absolutely no power whatever to “mandate” anything. For example, the CDC may recommended that you get an H1N1 inoculation this fall, but you will not be required to follow that recommendation. Please go here for the facts: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/aug/27/rush-limbaugh/limbaugh-circumcision-obama-cdc/

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    Granted, the CDC is not suggesting that circumcision be mandatory. But it is foolish to underestimate the power of a recommendation, particularly considering the money to be made by doctors and hospitals performing circumcisions.

    As for the reasons for recommending routine infant circumcision (RIC), babies do not have sex. So, RIC is not relevant to reducing HIV in the near term. Let the adult man decide if he wishes to have a portion of his sex organ removed by circumcision. If the man is smart, he will wear a condom when having at-risk sex with his foreskin.

    Second, having non-medically required surgery on an infant is a violation of that infant’s human rights and bodily integrity. It is illegal to perform non-medically required genital surgery on infant girls in the US. Why is there a double standard that allows genital surgery on baby boys?

    Many men are finding out that they miss their foreskin. They, like myself, are restoring their foreskin to regain what was taken from us at birth. See http://www.RestoringForeskin.org to read accounts of men who wish they had never been circumcised and are doing something about it.

  4. Heather Clarke says:
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    CDC is nuts. No organization in the world or government should be allowed to have the power to do such a thing! Holy Crap! What is this world coming to?

  5. Van Lewis says:
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    David got a lot wrong here. Let’s start with the title:

    “CDC Considering Mandatory Circumcision for Baby Boys to Stop Spread of HIV”

    As has been pointed out, the CDC is NOT considering recommending that circumcision be mandatory for all baby boys in America. Or for even one boy anywhere in the world. So the title itself is false.

    The first sentence repeats the falsehood:

    “The Centers for Disease Control are currently considering making routine circumcision mandatory for baby boys born in the United States.”

    Stating a falsehood twice doesn’t make it true.

    The second sentence is only part of the truth …

    “Circumcision is considered a method of reducing the spread of the HIV virus.”

    … not the whole truth, which would read, “Circumcision is considered BY SOME PEOPLE a method of reducing the spread of the HIV virus.”

    “The recommendations are extremely controversial,”

    There are no recommendations yet. They now are expected late this year or early next.

    “however, recent research shows that circumcised men in African countries that are severely affected by AIDS, had half the rate of infection when compared to uncircumcised men.”

    Again, false. Many African countries with circumcised and uncircumcised populations show varying relative rates of HIV infection. Some have higher HIV rates among their circumcised populations, some among their genitally intact populations, and some have about the same HIV rates in both groups. What this very confused Mr. Mittleman may be thinking of is fatally flawed medical trials in Africa which seemed to careless observers to indicate that HIV infection might be on average somewhat delayed for circumcised men. Instead of getting HIV today you get it tomorrow. Based on this thin soup, they conclude that Africa – nevermind the costs – should be mutilated.

    “Critics of mandatory circumcision”

    Again, the CDC is not even CONSIDERING proposing mandatory circumcision for ANYONE ANYWHERE.

    ” argue that mandatory circumcision”

    Involuntary circumcision might be a better choice of words here.

    ” places infants in a position where they are forced to undergo a medically unnecessary surgery without being able to give their consent.”

    Involuntary genital mutilation of healthy people – infants or otherwise – is a human rights violation and a crime against humanity; human vivisection. Licensed medical doctors were convicted of the crime at Nuremberg soon after World War II.

    “Nevertheless, CDC experts continue to argue for all infants to receive the procedure.”

    I think he finally got one right there. Probably it should say, “SOME CDC experts …”

    “Specifically, they maintain that any method to prevent the spread of HIV is a step in the right direction.”

    This has to be false. Would ANY CDC “expert” maintain that cutting off infants’ penises altogether “is a step in the right direction” since it is undeniably A “method to prevent the spread of HIV” and “ANY method to prevent the spread of HIV is a step in the right direction.” How about being SURE and killing all the male babies outright as soon as they’re born. This would protect women so we ought to do it, right? Cut up men, kill them if you have to, so long as a flimsy case can be made that women will benefit from the crime.

    “It is difficult to say how much mandatory circumcision would affect the rate of HIV infections, as many men in the U.S. are already circumcised.”

    David. Get over the idea that any medical organization is going to propose mandatory genital mutilation for all US babies. It ain’t going to happen. This is a delusion of yours built in your mind by your own experience of INVOLUNTARY genital mutilation, that violated your person and your fundamental, inalienable human rights. Now your mind wants to be sure that everybody else gets abused in the same way you were so you won’t have to confront what kind of criminal and criminally insane society you were born into.

    “In fact, 79% of adult males are circumcised in this country.”

    That may be about right.

    “Additionally, little evidence exists to suggest that mandatory circumcision would dramatically reduce the number of homosexual men affected by HIV.”

    Incorrect again. NO evidence exists for this.

    It is hard to understand how a person who graduated from grammar school could have gotten so much of this wrong, but then we’re talking about penises here and mutilating them and societies that do it are self-evidently insane on the subject, so I guess it would be even harder to understand if David had gotten it all right.

    “When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”
    Mark Twain

  6. Devon Glass says:
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    In response to Van’s post above, I’m not exactly sure what’s got him so excited. I understand that Van disagrees with the premise, but according to the articles cited in the post, David is simply reporting what is being said. Furthermore, no where in David’s post does he say whether he agrees or disagrees with what is being reported.

    The NY Times article has the following quote:

    – “Public health officials are considering promoting routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the United States to reduce the spread of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.”

    – “Recently, studies showed that in African countries hit hard by AIDS, men who were circumcised reduced their infection risk by half. But the clinical trials in Africa focused on heterosexual men who are at risk of getting H.I.V. from infected female partners.”

    – “Clinical trials in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda found that heterosexual men who were circumcised were up to 60 percent less likely to become infected with H.I.V. over the course of the trials than those who were not circumcised.”

    – “Another reason circumcision would have less of an impact in the United States is that some 79 percent of adult American men are already circumcised, public health officials say.”

    – ““We have a significant H.I.V. epidemic in this country, and we really need to look carefully at any potential intervention that could be another tool in the toolbox we use to address the epidemic,” Dr. Kilmarx said. “What we’ve heard from our consultants is that there would be a benefit for infants from infant circumcision, and that the benefits outweigh the risks.””

    – “Circumcision is believed to protect men from infection with H.I.V. because the mucosal tissue of the foreskin is more susceptible to H.I.V. and can be an entry portal for the virus. Observational studies have found that uncircumcised men have higher rates of other sexually transmitted diseases like herpes and syphilis, and a recent study in Baltimore found that heterosexual men were less likely to have become infected with H.I.V. from infected partners if they were circumcised.”

    Perhaps some of the post is an over-read of what’s out there, but it cannot be said David’s post is misleading based upon what he read in the NY Times and other sources. The thing about writing posts like this is to generate debate, but saying “It is hard to understand how a person who graduated from grammar school could have gotten so much of this wrong, but then we’re talking about penises here and mutilating them and societies that do it are self-evidently insane on the subject, so I guess it would be even harder to understand if David had gotten it all right” is unnecessary to make the point that you disagree with David’s post.

    If you disagree with David, that’s fine. But don’t say that he’s wrong since he’s 1) writing an article based upon published news stories and 2) not making an actual recommendation one way or the other.

    Van, you appear to have made your mind up about this subject, and that’s fine, but don’t get all in a tizzy because someone disagrees with your position. David’s article cites to a variety of sources to back up his statements, I see nothing in your post indicating where you get your facts. I am interested in seeing the data behind your assertions by seeing some articles that back you up.

  7. Fred Rhodes says:
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    In 2001 the NY Times reported studies in Africa started to show circumcision could prevent new cases of HIV. Shortly after a band of circumcised men commited 9/11. Now the NY Times is stating the CDC is concidering promoting circumcision. One band of circumcised men were just stopped from another act of terrorism to NY. If the CDC does get to recommend forced infant sexual trauma to prevent HIV, I’d bet that another band of circumcised men will succeed in another traumatic terrorism attact. Isn’t Mother Nature wonderful!?

  8. Joey says:
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    The main reason proponents of routine circumcision are citing the African clinical trials is because the study was done in 2 yrs. But look at this after 40 years of similar study in the Unoted States, the America Medical association found out that there was NO MEDICAL NECESSITY for the practice. What cdc was doing in funding the study in kenya was taking advantage of the fact that in Africa, there is little resistance to what is American sponsored. If the same two researchers did the study in the US, nobody would have listened to half baked garbage done hastily in two years by some low grade researcher. Ten years in insufficient to make such conclusion, but because it is in Africa, a limitless space for hasty trials, two years is “more than enough”.

    Truth is if you have a case against routine female circumcision, then you should have a case against routine male circumcision.