The New York Times says “Public health officials are considering promoting routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the United States to reduce the spread of H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.”
I do not understand this at all.
The study on which this idea is based was done awhile back on African men in an area where AIDS is rampant and condom use is rare. I cannot imagine a study with less relevance to the lives of American men.
If American men are practicing safe sex — i.e. condom use, etc — what does their foreskin have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing. So are we promoting safe sex, or are we promoting circumcision, CDC? I don’t get it?
I have not spoken with a single doctor who says there is any reason at all to recommend routine circumcision of boy babies, and I have talked to a lot of doctors. It is a choice parents can make, and many do, for many reasons. That is what is great about being a parent…you get to make that choice.
If you choose to circumcise your boy baby, I support you in that choice (which is actually none of my business, anyway, so who cares what I think?). There are religious reasons and cultural reasons and personal reasons that make circumcision the best choice for many families.
If you don’t choose to circumcise your boy baby, that is also a perfectly valid choice. According to Baylor College of Medicine pediatrician Dr. Sara Rizvi (and she is far from alone), there is no medical reason to circumcise .
I, personally, would never agree to circumcise a boy child (barring some great new revelation about the practice), even if the Centers for Disease Control was actively promoting it, particularly if that promotion was based on the suspect assertion that the practice might decrease the H.I.V. infection rate in America. Safe sex reduces the H.I.V rate in America. Education reduces the H.I.V rate in America.
That would be my (and my child’s father’s) choice.
The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend routine circumcision of baby boys. I does not not recommend it. It’s the Switzerland of the circ debate. It says (although I understand it may be rethinking its language)…
“Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, these data are not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. In circumstances in which there are potential benefits and risks, yet the procedure is not essential to the child’s current well-being, parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child.”
For much more on caring for your newborn, from their foreskin (or circumcision) to their belly button and so much more, please listen to what our wonderful pediatrician has to say in the Pea in the Podcast on Caring For Your Newborn.
(Originally posted @ Pea in the Podcast)