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New CDC guidelines suggest circumcision could defend against HIV

Joseph Ochieng, 18, gets circumcised at the Siaya General Hospital in western Kenya.
Joseph Ochieng, 18, gets circumcised at the Siaya General Hospital in western Kenya.
Jason Beaubien

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released new guidance that suggests that circumcision could help straight men in the U.S. lower their chances of becoming infected with the HIV virus.

According to clinical trials and studies, men who are circumcised have less of a chance than men who are uncircumcised of acquiring sexually-transmitted diseases during vaginal intercourse. In fact, circumcised males are 50 - 60 percent less likely to be infected with HIV from a female sexual partner. The study also found that women who have sex with circumcised males are less likely to contract STIs like HPV.

Opponents of the guidelines say regardless of HIV prevention, the choice to be circumcised should be left up to the person who is having the surgery. They argue that the procedure is torturous and inhumane, and that the most sensitive part of a male’s body should not be tampered with.

The new guidelines were released Tuesday in the Federal Register, and say that The CDC says the guidelines are just a draft and will be open for public comment before they are made final.

Do you think HIV prevention is a good reason to have your child circumcised? Where do you fall in the debate of whether to circumcise a newborn boy?


Marilyn Milos, Registered Nurse, founder and director of the National Organization of Circumcision Research

Dr. Edgar Schoen, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus, at the University of California, San Francisco medical school; former Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Task Force on Circumcision. He’s also author of the book “Circumcision, Sex, God, And Science: Modern Health Benefits Of An Ancient Ritual”