The CDC Weighs in on Circumcision: What Do You Think?

profile picture of Anisa Arsenault
ByAnisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Updated
Mar 2020

Should you or shouldn’t you? Circumcision is a hot topic among new parents, the debate centering around whether it’s considered a true preventative health measure. But the Center for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) is now definitively saying that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks. And they’re saying insurance should cover it.

The long-awaited CDC draft of federal guidelines for circumcision was released today. And while the guidelines don’t come right out and tell parents to have their sons circumcised (it’s often a matter of cultural or religious preference), they’re strongly suggesting it’s a good idea.

“The scientific evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks,” says the CDC’s Jonathan Mermin. What are those benefits? Namely a reduction in STDs and viruses. According to the CDC, circumcision can lower a man’s risk of getting HIV from an infected woman by 50 to 60 percent. It can also lower herpes and HPV risk by 30 percent, and prevent penile cancer and infant UTIs.

What are the risks? Typically minor bleeding, pain and infection.

While only 25 percent of US males were circumcised in 1900, the practice became the cultural norm by the '50s, peaking at around 80 percent. Since then, circumcision rates have declined. But the practice has seen a renewed sense of importance in light of recent studies in Africa, where circumcision was directly linked with helping to stop the spread of AIDS.

The CDC will be taking public comments on the draft for the next 45 days, and will finalize its stance next year. (via TODAY)

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