CDC Considers Counseling Males Of All Ages On Circumcision
Draft federal recommendations don't usually raise eyebrows, but this one certainly will — that males of all ages, including teenage boys, should be counseled on the health benefits of circumcision. In the past 15 years, studies in Africa have found that circumcision lowers men's risk of being infected with HIV during heterosexual intercourse by 50 to 60 percent. Being circumcised also reduces men's risk of infection with the herpes virus and human papillomavirus. Those health benefits prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's proposed recommendation that doctors counsel parents of baby boys and teenagers, as well as men, on the benefits and risks of circumcision. Groups opposed to circumcision, such as Intact America, say the health benefits of circumcision in the U.S. remain unproven, and that the CDC is relying too heavily on studies done in Africa that may not be relevant here. The procedure, which removes the foreskin, has been criticized because infants can't consent to it. "Parents need to recognize that they're effectively removing that decision from their son," says Dr. Douglas Diekema, a bioethicist at Seattle Children's who served on the pediatricians' task force. "And there are some men who will grow up being unhappy with the decision that their parents made."
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