Male circumcision rates at hospitals dip: CDC

CHICAGO Fri Sep 2, 2011 11:25am EDT

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - The number of baby boys getting circumcised in hospitals has dropped slightly in the past decade, health experts said on Thursday.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from three national surveys to track changes in hospital rates of circumcision, which involves removing the foreskin of the penis.

In one survey, newborn male circumcision rates fell to 56.9 percent in 2008 from 62.9 percent in 1999. In another, rates of circumcision fell to 54.7 percent in 2010 from 58.4 percent in 2001. In a third, rates fell to 56.3 percent in 2008 from 63.5 percent in 1999.

The CDC said the figures likely underestimated the actual rate of circumcisions because they did not include circumcisions performed within communities.

Circumcision is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys, and is also a common rite among Muslims, who account for the largest share of circumcised men worldwide.

The wider U.S. population adopted the practice due to potential health benefits, but those advantages have become the subject of debate, including a recent effort to ban circumcision in San Francisco.

CDC researchers noted three recent studies that have shown that male circumcision decreases transmission of the HIV virus that causes AIDS.

Male circumcision has also been shown to cut the risk of herpes, human papillomavirus or HPV infections and genital ulcer disease in men, and also HPV infection, trichomoniasis, and bacterial vaginosis and genital ulcer disease in their female partners.

Critics say the surgery exposes infants to pain unnecessarily. In San Francisco, opponents fought hard to add a ballot measure banning the practice to the city's November ballot. Statewide efforts are under way to block such bans.

Researchers at the CDC said the recent 10-year decline in circumcisions in U.S. hospitals followed a sharp increase in the prior 10-year period. Circumcision rates rose to 61.1 percent from 1997 to 2000 from 48.3 percent in 1988.

"Many factors likely influence rates of newborn male circumcision," CDC researchers said in a weekly report on death and disease.

Medicaid coverage may be one factor. A recent study found circumcision rates were 24 percentage points higher in states in which it was routinely paid for compared with hospitals in states that do not cover the procedure.

As of 2009, Medicaid paid for circumcision in 33 U.S. states.

SOURCE: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, September 2, 2011.

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Comments (22)
“Circumcision of male infants is a clear violation of the rights guaranteed to all persons by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Furthermore, the practice contravenes human rights legislation on provincial and international levels.”

“The presence of and tolerance for infant male circumcision in our societies harms us all. Male infants need our protection from unnecessary surgery. To contemplate a ban on non-ritual, non-therapeutic circumcision, while allowing ritual circumcision, would be a prohibited discrimination against a group of boys on the grounds of their parents’ religion. These infants will always have the choice to be circumcised later in life, if they so choose to do as a sign of their faith. At that point, at least, it is their own decision and not one that has been imposed irreversibly upon them. ”

* both excerpts taken from INFANT MALE CIRCUMCISION -A Violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.(2000) by Dr. Arif Bhimji, Canadian Physician who is also Muslim.

Sep 02, 2011 11:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
_JK_ wrote:
Finally people are coming to their senses. Let your son decide for himself when he is old enough, in the meantime teach him how to clean himself well enough that the ONLY benefit for circumcision is void.

Also, if you are going to have your son circumcised then try this… Demand to be given the skin they remove. You’ll be shocked. Why? Because they won’t. They sell that skin for skin grafts and make more money than they charge you for removing it in the first place.

Sep 02, 2011 11:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Sketto wrote:
We circumcize because it’s tradition, not because it’s necessary. It’s barbaric to slice up children. Stop it.

Sep 02, 2011 12:22pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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