Feds Say Circumcision Best for Boys

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The benefits of male circumcision outweigh the risks of the procedure, U.S. health officials said Tuesday, in the first federal guidelines about circumcision.

“Male circumcision is a proven effective prevention intervention with known medical benefits,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. “Financial and other barriers to access to male circumcision should be reduced or eliminated.”

The CDC stopped short of explicitly telling parents to have their children circumcised, nothing that “other considerations, such as religion, societal norms and social customs, hygiene, aesthetic preference, and ethical considerations also influence decisions about male circumcision. Ultimately, whether to circumcise a male neonate is a decision made by parents or guardians on behalf of their newborn son.”

The guidelines specifically target adolescents and young men, populations who are more likely to be infected by sexually-transmitted diseases. The guidelines say that circumcision reduces the likelihood of infection with sexually transmitted diseases, and also reduces the risk of developing penile cancer. Overall, men who are circumcised are 44% less likely to be infected with HIV, the CDC said.


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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com