The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just revised their official federal guidelines in relation to the practice of male circumcision -- a common procedure throughout the United States, but not many other places in the Western world. In fact, only 30 percent of men aged 15 or older have had the procedure done, according to The World Health Organization (WHO). Though often associated with Judaism, circumcision is actually most prevalent in Muslim cultures -- which account for 70 percent of all circumcised men in the world.
But being in the minority shouldn't sway Americans from saying no to male circumcision, says the CDC. Several sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, are more easily shared by uncircumcised penises, according to Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the National Center for H.I.V./AIDS at the CDC.
"Our role is to provide accurate information so people can make informed decisions... The first thing it's important to know is that male circumcision has been associated with a 50 to 60 percent reduction of H.I.V. transmission, as well as a reduction in sexually transmitted infections such as herpes, bacterial vaginosis and the human papilloma virus (H.P.V.), which causes penile and cervical cancer."But the likelihood of older men getting circumcised -- even in light of the CDC's newest recommendations -- is slim. Along with the CDC's own report, they included a survey of adult-aged men -- only 10 percent said they would be "likely" or "very likely" to get circumcised in light of the newest CDC information. That's part of the reason that Douglas S. Diekema, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' task force on circumcision, has changed both his and the organization's official stance, according to The New York Times.
"It's hard to imagine very many adolescents deciding to have a circumcision done... It's a difficult thing to get the adolescent brain to make that kind of calculation."Arguments made by the CDC and other medical experts have not yet swayed those against the practice of male circumcision. Critics say that since the data about STD transmission was from sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV is commonly transmitted through heterosexual sex, it is not comparable to the United States, where 90 percent of sexually transmitted HIV comes from homosexual intercourse. Georganne Chapin, founding director of anti-circumcision group Intact America, told NYT that if the studies were correct, you'd see more differences in the STD landscape of America and other countries without circumcision.
"We still [have] comparable or even higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases than in European countries, where there is virtually no circumcision."Do you think male circumcision provides health benefits to young men? What do you think of the CDC study?
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