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AAP: Health Benefits of Circumcision Outweigh the Risks


What the Research Revealed

Many studies on the benefits of circumcision have been performed in Africa, where, because of the prevalence of HIV and other STDs, the effect can be seen more quickly. The task force found evidence that circumcision has a preventative effect on:

HIV: Studies in Africa and a CDC math model study found that circumcision reduces HIV infection among heterosexual men.

HPV: Another African study found that circumcision reduces the spread of human papillomavirus, some strains of which can cause cervical cancer in women.

Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases: A variety of studies suggest that circumcision is linked with decreased risk of contracting syphilis and genital herpes.

Urinary Tract Infections: Although still uncommon for boys, UTIs are more common among uncircumcised males in the first year of life. Treatment at this age can be painful and require hospitalization.

Penile Cancer: An association was found between circumcision and decreased risk of this rare type of cancer.

Prostate Cancer: A new study suggests that circumcision could be tied to a slightly lower rate of prostate cancer.

While critics say circumcision decreases sexual pleasure, there are currently no scientific studies to support this claim. In fact, study participants in Africa who had been circumcised as adults reported either no effect or increased pleasure.

Plus: All About Circumcision