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Health Benefits of Circumcision Outweigh Risks

Update Date: Aug 27, 2012 09:35 AM EDT
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More than just a religious and/or cultural rite, circumcision has been routinely performed on newborn boys by hospital staff. However the American Academy of Pediatrics say that while circumcision may lower the risk of a range of diseases, from AIDS to herpes, penial cancer and doesn't hurt sexual performance or pleasure in adulthood, according to NBCNews,  parents should not feel pressured by medical staff to do it and should remain the parents decision. 

According to The Guardian the numbers of circumcised newborns has dropped from 79 percent in 1980 to  58 percent in 2010, as quoted from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is primarily due to public insurance programs such as Medicaid not offering to cover the procedure.

NBCNews reports that Eighteen states have stopped paying for circumcision under Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance plan for the poor. 

 AAP's new policy statement enforces that parents who do choose to circumcise their children, as most U.S. parents are wont to do, should be reimbursed by insurance, according to USHealth.

In its updated policy, the AAP highlights the medical benefits of circumcision, such as a protective effect against human papillomavirus, HIV, genital herpes, and syphilis, as well as a reduced risk of penile and prostate cancers. The risks are limited to bleeding or mild infection. 

NBCNews reports that earlier this month, a team at Johns Hopkins University projected that U.S. medical costs will go up as circumcision rates fall. They used data showing that urinary tract infections would triple and HIV rates would go up 12 percent if circumcision rates fell to 10 percent.  

 However, Georganne Chapin, Executive Director of Intact in America said in a statement posted on the group's website:

 "It is clear that the AAP is blind to the mounting worldwide movement against the genital cutting of boys," adding that the group "is disregarding the risks and harms of the procedure. It also is ignoring the fact that circumcision is rare in Europe, with no negative health consequences, and that European politicians and physician groups -- in increasing numbers -- are calling for doctors to refuse to perform the procedure." 

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