26
Aug
09

CDC mulls routine circumcision of infants to reduce spread of HIV

From NYDailyNews.com:

In an effort to reduce the spread of the AIDS-causing HIV virus, the Centers for Disease Control are currently mulling routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the United States, the New York Times reports.

The controversial recommendations, scheduled for a formal release by the end of the year, come on the heels of research that shows circumcised men in African countries hit hard by AIDS had half the risk of getting infected as those who were uncircumcised.

Critics say that focusing on newborns in the United States would only have an effect years down the road, and that circumcising infants subjects them to medically unnecessary surgery without their consent.

But CDC experts maintain that any step to reduce the spread of HIV is worthy of serious consideration.

“We have a significant H.I.V. epidemic in this country, and we really need to look carefully at any potential intervention that could be another tool in the toolbox we use to address the epidemic,” Dr. Peter Kilmarx, chief of epidemiology for the CDC’s division of HIV/AIDS prevention, told the Times. “What we’ve heard from our consultants is that there would be a benefit for infants from infant circumcision, and that the benefits outweigh the risks.”

Experts acknowledge that a new circumcision policy is unlikely to have a dramatic effect in HIV infection rates, as most adult men are already circumcised. Additionally, scant evidence exists to prove circumcision protects homosexual men from getting HIV.

79 percent of adult American men are already circumcised, according to public health statistics, though circumcision of newborns has dropped to about 65 percent in recent decades.

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