New Zealand study finds circumcision cuts STD infection rate

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Tuesday, November 7, 2006

A new study released by Christchurch researcher from the Christchurch School of Medicine and Health Sciences, David Fergusson, shows that "substantional benefits" come from a circumcision, a baby boy having his foreskin removed.

Mr Fergusson said that the rate of sexually transmitted diseases is halved due to circumcision, even after accounting for the amount of sex partners, unprotected sex and their family background. "Circumcision also reduces the risk of transmitting HIV and the incidence of urinary tract infections."

The report, which was published in the international scientific journal Pediatrics, took 25-years to complete as it followed 510 males from birth until they were 25-years-old.

"The public health issues raised by these findings clearly involve weighing the longer-term benefits of routine neonatal circumcision in terms of reducing risks of infection within the population, against the perceived costs of the procedure," Mr Fergusson said.

However the American Academy of Pediatrics has described the current study as "complex and conflicting." The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the practice, which is why in the US the circumcision rate has been falling since 1999.

In New Zealand, only between ten and twenty percent of all males are circumcised, which is one of the lowest rates in the world. Circumcision is the normal practice in Samoa and Tonga and also among Jewish and Muslim men.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians said in 2004, "There is no medical reason for routine circumcision of newborn boys."

The current study has made some health specialists reconsider their stance on the issue. "People feel passionate on both sides, but I'm going to recommend that we take another careful look at this," said Jay Berkelhamer, US Academy of Pediatrics president and professor of pediatrics at the University of Florida.

Edgar Schoen, who has reconsidered his stance on the issue, he said: "The academy's opposition is irresponsible. The benefits of circumcision far outweigh risks, and doctors should be telling parents that."

"Even if it does bring down sexually transmitted disease, cutting normal tissue of an unconsenting minor is a human rights violation," said Marilyn Milos, from anti-circumcision group, National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC).

Sources

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