CDC: Circumcision benefits outweigh the risks as it cuts risk for HIV, STDs and penile cancer

Epigraph:

Do they seek a religion other than Allah’s, while to Him submits whosoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly or unwillingly, and to Him shall they be returned? (Al Quran 3:84)

Lovely Baby

Source: Mail online

U.S. health officials on Tuesday released a draft of long-awaited federal guidelines on circumcision, saying medical evidence supports having the procedure done and health insurers should pay for it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines stop short of telling parent to get their newborn sons circumcised. That is a personal decision that may involve religious or cultural preferences, said the CDC’s Dr. Jonathan Mermin.

But ‘the scientific evidence is clear that the benefits outweigh the risks,’ added Mermin, who oversees the agency’s programs on HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Read further

Additional Reading

Science of Circumcision: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac or St. Paul?

Male Circumcision, From St. Paul to Hillary Clinton

Islam versus Christianity: Utilitarian purpose of the Islamic teachings

14 replies

  1. As we celebrate this recommendations, by CDC, the Muslims should also appreciate that if evidence points to something against what we thought was a religious edict or something that some religious authority had said, we need to be willing to stand with what we see and observe, rather than what we had heard from any authority. Only then we are ready for the 21st century, otherwise we may still be living in medieval ages.

    Suggested Reading
    Do Muslims Prefer Camels Over Modern Cars?

  2. Circumcision reduces the risk of STI’s, such as syphilis. It has been claimed by an international team of researchers that have carried out their analysis on a sample of nearly 5,000 heterosexual couples from Uganda and Kenya. Results have confirmed that the removal of the foreskin is associated with a significant decrease in the risk of contracting syphilis (-42%), in particular in males affected by HIV (-62%). The same for their partners that, following their men’s circumcision, have seen diminish their risk of infection by 59%. And by 48% in those affected by the virus. Figures that show the protective effect of the operation from dangerous diseases. Results have been published in The Lancet.
    IA
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

  3. God ,the All-loving, sent messengers and prophets with Divine revelation not to impose restrictions on man’s freedom but rather to save the following:lives,mind,religion,honour and property.This is embodied in the dos and donts of Islam .One may imagine how much can world governments save by adhering to such Divine Law.An interesting book strongly recommended on AIDS Is the following: Dr. Fahmi M. Mahmoud (1996), AIDS the Untold Story ,Aldurar Distributor&Book Seller
    P.O. Box 211553, Amman 11121, Jordan
    May God save the golbal family and guide us all to the straight path.

  4. I’m confused – why would a baby boy, or even a child, be exposed to STDs? How about leaving people to make their own decision on such matters about THEIR body once they’re old enough. Now there’s a thought.

  5. @AL
    The same reason for which infants and young children are given hep B vaccinations and young girls are given herpes virus vaccination.
    Go think about it!!

  6. Circumcision, for heterosexual men and women does not “prevent” disease. Ignorance and not keeping yourself as a virgin until marriage always presents problems. Homosexuals and Lesbians do what they do. Drug addicts that share the same heroin needles create problems with their bodies and many die. We will never get people to honor God/Allah’s commandments/surahs by altering their bodies. We men were born with foreskins. I, a man of 60 years have taken care of my body and kept clean. No sexing around when I was single and having intercourse with risky ladies. There is so much scientific evidence out there explaining the benefits of keeping your foreskins. The original idea of this practice on boys and girls was to prevent a society from being sex-crazed. The Quran says for men to turn their gaze down when walking toward a woman. That is to keep him from being aroused and possibly wanting to have relations with her. The hijab is to protect the woman and prevent a man’s mind from going haywire again and maybe getting out of control. Sure, men can be real stupid! Look at all the abortions men have caused over the years. Hundreds of millions of abortions because “men” could not restrain their desire. Men like to say “It takes two to tango and that I, Art am narrow minded.” Well, the men love to blame rather than being the men that God/Allah designed us to be. We are taught to be the protectors of women, not their rapers and killers! The Quran was given for the betterment of all mankind. Let us not isolate the actions of certain men and say that all men are like that! I am a man of principle and love life. I learn from nature. I am a man of understanding. My mind is clearly focused on the One Solitary Voice of the Creator. I do not concentrate on how I am going to sin and finally crawl back to God/Allah whining and begging for forgiveness. I walk in the strength that Muhammad, PBUH, constantly spoke of. He made it very clear that the battle begins in our mind whether we are men or women. I love my wife and protect her as I was taught both through the teachings and common sense. Salaam.

  7. @ART
    Your proclamation denying the medical benefits of circumcision is shocking. After much enquiry, and scientific research and experimentation, CDC has arrived at this conclusion. For you to just outright deny it is not correct. It also takes away from the rest of your long comment in your own praise.

  8. @Lutf
    But Hepatitis B is transmitted any number of ways, not only sexually, and girls aren’t offered the HPV vaccine until they’re 12 at the earliest – they’re not babies. Let’s not pretend a vaccination and removing a part of someone’s body without their consent are in any way comparable.

    Furthermore, the research about whether circumcision does reduce the risk of contracting HIV and other STDs is variable. Some studies indicate it has little if no impact. Even if it were true, reducing the risk isn’t the same as removing it, so any responsible person would still get tested, ask their partner to do the same, and take the necessary precautions.

    My point remains the same: How about leaving people to make their own decision on such matters about THEIR body once they’re old enough.
    Go think about it!!

  9. I am not claiming nor the science is claiming that circumcision eliminates all risk of STDs. But it surely reduces it. Similarly we get flu vaccines each year. This also just reduces the risk and not eliminate it. We do lot of stuff in life to reduce the risk. And yes it is worth it.
    And I am not denying all the other good things such as abstinence, moral and good life style, and other medical help.
    I do not want to accept the lame arguments of cutting off body parts and such. Parents decide about the better future and health of their children all the time. Since circumcision has benefit, the only discussion should be when to do it. No child who was circumcised as an infant remembers a thing about it. Recovery is excellent. But adult circumcision is something else. So it makes lot of sense to circumcise as an infant.

  10. @Lutf
    “Similarly we get flu vaccines each year.” – Nope, as I said above, circumcision and receiving a vaccine are not comparable.

    “I do not want to accept the lame arguments of cutting off body parts and such.” – I can’t quite believe the ignorance of this comment. Would you say the same about FGM? Surgically changing someone else with no GENUINE medical reason is a violation of their most basic human right. It’s permanent, irreversible, and will alter the way that person experiences sex for the rest of their life.

    The reality is that boys who grow up in places that do not circumcise don’t encounter any additional problems. For example, Sweden does not circumcise yet has less incidences of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases than the USA, where most men are circumcised.

    “Since circumcision has benefit, the only discussion should be when to do it.” – When the individual is old enough to decide for themselves.

    “Parents decide about the better future and health of their children all the time.” – Within reason; parents don’t have blanket rights to do whatever they like to their children.

    “No child who was circumcised as an infant remembers a thing about it.” – They may not remember the act itself, but many remember the numerous problems it caused them in later life – a 30 second internet search will tell you that.

    No one is arguing circumcision should be banned; rather, it should be a decision taken by the individual; not something forced upon them when they’re too young and defenseless to do anything about it.

  11. @AL
    You keep saying that circumcision has no benefits. This is simply false. There is enough scientific and medical evidence to show that circumcision has benefits in preventing STDs and penile cancer. The evidence is strong enough that the scientific bodies such as CDC have accepted it.
    As for the consent part of your reasoning, parents should wait until children can decide for themselves. Parents send their children to school even when children do not want to go to school. But for their future benefit, parents and governments have created schools and a system of education where children are sent without asking for their consent. According to your argument, children are forced to get education. Also once their childhood years are spent in education, this good time cannot come back nor they can get rid of the education they received. According to your argument, the damage is permanent.
    Would you wait for your children to get to an age when they can assess the benefits and need for education. And of course they will be able to decide at 18 if they want to get an education. Parents do a lot of stuff for their children against their wish, but with their benefit in mind.
    The fact is that human child needs parents to decide and do almost everything for them. And society accepts this.

  12. @Lutf
    “You keep saying that circumcision has no benefits… According to your argument, children are forced to get education.” – Please point me to where I said that… Oh yes, I didn’t.

    With respect, the analogy between getting an education and forced circumcision doesn’t stand up. We may as well compare making kids eat healthily with child marriage. After all, parents know best!

    It’s one thing to tout the benefits of circumcision; it’s another to argue that it should be performed on babies. We have entire NGOs dedicated to eliminating the practice for girls, yet we strap down baby boys because a part of their body “might” become infected one day. All of our body parts “might” become infected one day.

    STDs do not magically “grow” from “germs” under the skin. They are contracted through unprotected sexual contact. Any male with access to basic hygiene and education, and who is not recklessly exposed to diseases such as AIDs, does not need to be circumcised. Using a condom and having regular tests are the only safe ways of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. Mutilation as a form of disease control is ridiculous. Let a person decide for himself if he’d like to have a piece of his penis cut off. That’s all I’m saying.

    I also note there’s no mention of whether personal hygiene and male sexual response and pleasure were considered when conducting the risk/benefit analysis. Or doesn’t that matter?

    Let the individual decide when he old enough to consent. But who cares about informed consent regarding male bodily integrity, right?

  13. @AL
    You keep bringing in female genital mutilation. I wanted to clarify. The above scientific evidence is for male circumcision only. Female genital mutilation is a cultural practice mostly practiced in Christian Africa. It is not based on any religious teaching, but is the result of ignorance. It has nothing to do with Islam.
    Once it has been established based upon scientific and medical evidence that circumcision is beneficial in preventing STDs, the only question is when to do it.
    I believe circumcision at a younger age carries many benefits. It is easy for the surgeon as well as easy on the baby. Adult circumcision is more painful with longer recovery time.
    So yes circumcision should be performed at a younger age for all male babies to reduce the future risk of STDs.
    There are parents out there who are exposing their children and the children of others by not having childhood vaccinations. No matter how much evidence is presented to them, they are stuck in their wrong beliefs. As a result one in four children in the US is either not vaccinated or has missed some of their vaccines.
    So AL don’t be a prophet of ignorance. Help the humanity. Thanks for the discussion.

  14. @ Lutf:
    Again, you attribute comments to me I didn’t make. Nowhere did I say FGM is an Islamic practice, and in any event, its origin is not relevant. With respect, you appear to misunderstand my comments, or perhaps are blinkered to any point of view that counters your own. Yet you call me a ‘prophet of ignorance’.

    Rather than misrepresenting your comments, I’ll respond to them directly.
    You say: “I believe circumcision at a younger age carries many benefits. It is easy for the surgeon as well as easy on the baby.” I agree it’s easier for the surgeon – a tiny baby cannot fight back. Circumcision painfully and permanently alters a baby boy’s genitals, removing healthy, protective, functional tissue from the penis and exposing the child to unnecessary pain and medical risks – for questionable medical benefit at best. As with any surgery, complications can and do occur, even in the best clinical settings, including infection, abnormal bleeding, removal of too much skin, loss of all or part of the glans, urinary problems, and even death. All circumcisions result in the loss of the foreskin and its functions.

    You say: “Once it has been established based upon scientific and medical evidence that circumcision is beneficial in preventing STDs, the only question is when to do it.” Many men in the United States are circumcised, but their STD rates are as high as or higher than those in countries where circumcision is rare. There is no evidence that US penises are healthier than European penises. The CDC’s study is based on African trials. This does not hold true for the rest of the world, particularly areas that do not routinely practice circumcision, like Europe, and parts of East Asia. In fact, we often see the opposite i.e. where most men are uncircumcised, they have less occurrence of HIV infections than where men are circumcised (such as the US).

    According to a 2013 study, circumcised men are less likely to use condoms than uncircumcised men. Why not just use condoms that offer 95%+ protection, rather than settle for a mutilated penis with still at least a 50% chance of contracting HIV (according to the CDC)?

    With respect, you appear to start from a position of bias – I presume you’re a muslim, and have been raised to believe circumcising babies is “the right thing to do”. When empirical evidence emerges to suggest there are benefits, you use it as justification, and to retrospectively justify centuries of this forced practice, which at the time, was based purely on superstition. Yet most medically advanced nations do not circumcise baby boys, and it’s thought approximately 75% of the men are uncircumcised. The CDC’s findings are contrary to medical research elsewhere in the developed world. I note you haven’t referred to the findings of the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, the BMA, the Royal Dutch Medical Association, the Children’s Ombudsmen in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland, or the German Paediatric Association, all of which disagree with the forced practice. You’re hardly starting from a position of impartiality or reason.

    The point is, children should be protected from permanent bodily alteration inflicted on them without their consent in the name of culture, religion, profit, or parental preference. Under accepted ethical principles, parents can consent to surgery on behalf of a child only if it is necessary to protect the child’s life or health. “Routine” circumcision fails this test because it painfully and permanently removes a normal and healthy part of a boy’s penis, does not protect the child’s life or health, and in fact creates new risks. Removing the foreskin is no more justified than removing any other healthy body part.

    Ultimately, circumcision does not prevent communicable disease. Destroying a properly functioning and valuable body part in order to possibly reduce infection makes no sense. If it did, then why not mandate mastectomies, appendectomies, tonsillectomies…

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