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American Academy of Pediatrics Recommends Circumcision

The American Academy of Pediatrics' new policy says circumcision should be covered by insurance, and that the health benefits far outweigh any risk.

To circumcise or not to circumcise — that has been the controversial question posed to every parent of a newborn boy for decades in the United States.

Circumcision rates peaked at over 90 percent in 1964, according to Circumstitions.com. Since then the practice has declined in regularity to nationwide estimates that range from 33 percent (MGMBill.org) to 55 percent (CBS News).

Despite circumcision's steep drop in popularity, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) changed its official stance on the procedure on Monday. According to Parenting.com, the AAP is now saying that "the preventative health benefits of infant circumcision clearly outweigh the risks."

In both 1999 and 2005, the AAP remained staunch that circumcision was "not essential to the child's current well-being."

After several years of study, Michael Brady, M.D., chairman of the department of pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, said "it’s now obvious there’s a preventative effect" associated with circumcision. 

Namely, circumcision has been shown to be positively correlated with lower HIV rates in heterosexual males in Africa, low HPV rates and smaller risk of contracting syphilis and genital herpes. In addition, studies have shown that circumcised babies are less prone to urinary tract infections, and that the procedure can reduce the risk of penile and prostate cancer later in life. 

Some opponents of circumcision cite decreased sexual pleasure, but according to Parenting.com, "study participants in Africa who had been circumcised as adults reported either no effect or increased pleasure." Other opponents claim the operation is barbaric and unfair to the infant, who has no ability to choose.

Dr. Brady, who serves on the AAP Task Force, suggested that circumcision be included in Medicaid coverage. A study at Johns Hopkins found that opting not to circumcise could cost $313 in related health care expenses to a person over a lifetime. The projected health benefits of circumcision are used to justify the AAP's recommendation for universal coverage for the procedure. 

According to MGMBill.org, just 22 percent of baby boys in California were circumcised in 2010. West Virginia lead the country with a circumcision rate of 86 percent that same year. See MGMBill.org's graphic of circumcision rates by state in the photos above.

What do you think of the AAP's revised stance on circumcision? Do you agree? Disagree? Do you think the reported health benefits are enough? Tell us in the comments!

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Cris August 29, 2012 at 11:17 PM
You may have misinterpreted the study. The AAP does NOT endorse routine circumcision for males born in the U.S.A. They basically said that the benefits appear to outweigh the risks, therefore, insurance should cover it and parents should be educated. However, the benefits that appear to coincide with circumcision are very rare in the U.S.A. Rare enough that there is no endorsement or even a recommendation that circumcision be performed. Here is a link to the abstract, so you can read it for yourselves... http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/gca?allch=&submit=Go&gca=pediatrics%3Bpeds.2012-1990v1
Frank Parks August 30, 2012 at 09:48 AM
Kindly tell me what the hell does this have to do with living in Pacifica? I used to find this patch so useful when Camden was around, but not it's a lot of useless information. Can we please get someone better to manage this site?
Michelle August 30, 2012 at 02:38 PM
AAP policy is flawed, biased, inaccurate and misrepresents the medical evidence. They left out almost all research that does not support circumcision. This is unscientific, unprofessional. This is all about the money and conformity. No committee is needed to promote unnecessary surgery on normal newborns. Instead, a committee is needed to discuss normal anatomy, structure, function and care of the NORMAL genitals of boys. AAP cherry-picked the literature and made up claims favoring circumcision. They completely left out evidence since 2010 most of which is opposed to circumcision. No studies, (excluding extremely flawed African studies where 1/2 the males did not even get HIV through sexual contact), show any benefit from circumcision in preventing HIV, HPV or STD's. Recent Puerto Rican study shows up to 30% higher rates of these diseases in circumcised males. No U.S. studies show a difference in rates based on circumcision status. European males enjoy better health and less sexual dysfunction for both males and females. Penile and prostate cancer completely misrepresented above. Why do so many circumcised males in the U.S. get prostate cancer? Penile cancer is extremely rare and occurs in elderly men-nothing to do with children. The circumcision experiment in the U.S. has failed. Children deserve to be left whole and healthy. AAP=NO ETHICS.

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