Interesting story in the New York Times on Monday about a dramatic drop in circumcision rates in the U.S. According to a CDC researcher who spoke at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna last month, just 32.5% of the baby boys born in U.S. hospitals in 2009 were circumcised, compared with 56% in 2006, and two-thirds in the ’80s and ’90s. (CDC is investigating the data further, but the numbers are based on statistics from Pennsylvania’s SDI Health, which analyzes health care figures. These numbers do not include, for example, Jewish ritual circumcisions conducted outside hospitals.)
Circumcision is an issue that has sent pediatricians swinging this way and that. The current position by the American Academy of Pediatrics is neutral, and it’s a procedure that’s not covered by several state Medicaid programs. But the World Health Organization began advocating circumcision in 2007 as “an important intervention to reduce the risk of heterosexually acquired H.I.V.” And the new AAP guidelines, due out in 2011, are expected to back away from the neutral stance and lean more toward encouragement of the procedure.
Still, nothing’s clear on this issue. Circumcision doesn’t seem to protect gay men, and even the studies in Africa, which found that the procedure seemed to lower the risk of infection for heterosexual men involved with HIV-positive women, did not find it beneficial the other way round.
Read more about this issue here. Meanwhile, tell us, did you have your son(s) circumcised? Why or why not?
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