The American Academy of Pediatrics has revised its stand on the circumcision of baby boys, saying new studies indicate that the benefits of the procedure now appear to outweigh the risks.
Though stopping short of actually recommending the routine circumcision of infant males, the leading pediatrician group now says that decision should be left up to parents. The group previously had taken a neutral stand on the issue.
As the leading pediatric group in the country, the AAP’s positions on health care issues influences pediatricians and can sway insurance companies on which procedures they will cover.
The AAP announced its new position on circumcision in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, saying circumcision appears to reduce the risk of HIV and other diseases, including cancer.
“Evaluation of current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks; furthermore, the benefits of newborn male circumcision justify access to this procedure for families who choose it. Specific benefits from male circumcision were identified for the prevention of urinary tract infections, acquisition of HIV, transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, and penile cancer. Male circumcision does not appear to adversely affect penile sexual function/sensitivity or sexual satisfaction.”
The AAP’s announcement comes at a time when circumcision, a procedure in which the foreskin is removed from the penis, appears to be falling into disfavor among parents. Circumcision rates in the U.S. have fallen in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control.