The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines recommending circumcision for male infants, suggesting that the benefits of circumcision far outweigh the risks. It suggested that parents should consider the procedure for their sons, and that they should pay for it using insurance money.
The CDC released its draft guidelines for circumcision on Tuesday, opening them for public debate for 45 days before finalizing them; these are the first federal guidelines issued in the US regarding circumcision. The agency has reportedly been researching the issue for almost a decade to determine if the practice is an outdated religious belief or has true medical benefits – male circumcision is a practice associated with the Muslim and Jewish faiths, in which foreskin from the tip of a penis is cut away.
The practice has been demonstrated to inhibit proliferation and growth of certain viruses and bacteria at the site.
The newly issued guidelines cite studies that have found circumcised men are less susceptible to penile cancers, sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections when compared to uncircumcised men. Researchers first began their studies on the benefits of circumcision to male sexual health after several influential studies found circumcised men in Africa had a lesser rate of HIV infection when compared to uncircumcised men.
The results will likely stir controversy in the anti-circumcision bloc, who are dubious of the medical benefits of the practice and believe that it is cruel. Very few circumcisions result in scar tissue, which could decrease a penis’ sexual sensitivity.
There have been recorded incidents of the tip of the penis being severed during a procedure, but advocates of circumcision argue that such incidents are very rare. Anti-circumcision group Bloodstained Men earlier in the year toured the US, demonstrating and protesting at courthouses across the country.