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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the health benefits of circumcision?

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    Prof Brian Morris

    HealthShare Member

    The Circumcision Foundation of Australia recently published the first evidence-based policy statement on infant male circumcision in Open Journal of Preventive Medicine. This summarizes the health benefits (which apply from cradle to grave) and greatly exceed the trivial risks seen in less than 1% and that are virtually all immediately, simply and completely treatable.

    See below for summary.

    To get the complete article and another article that explains why infancy is the best time to circumcise, go to: http://www.circumcisionaustralia.org - Infant male circumcision: An evidence-based policy statement Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2012; 2: 79-92. Brian J. Morris, Alex D. Wodak, Adrian Mindel, Leslie Schrieber, Karen A. Duggan, Anthony Dilley, Robin J. Willcourt, Michael Lowy, David A. Cooper, Eugenie R. Lumbers, C. Terry Russell, Stephen R. Leeder

    ABSTRACT
    Here we review the international evidence for benefits and risks of infant male circumcision (MC) and use this to develop an evidence-based policy statement for a developed nation setting, focusing on Australia.

    Evidence from good quality studies that include meta-analyses and randomized controlled trials showed that MC provides strong protection against: urinary tract infections and, in infancy, renal parenchymal disease; phimosis; paraphimosis; balanoposthitis; foreskin tearing; some heterosexually transmitted infections including HPV, HSV-2, trichomonas, HIV, and genital ulcer disease; thrush; inferior hygiene; penile cancer and possibly prostate cancer.

    In women, circumcision of the male partner protects against HPV, HSV-2, cervical cancer, bacterial vaginosis, and possibly Chlamydia. MC has no adverse effect on sexual function, sensitivity, penile sensation or satisfaction and may enhance the male sexual experience. Adverse effects are uncommon (<1%), and virtually all are minor and easily treated.

    For maximum benefits, safety, convenience and cost savings, MC should be performed in infancy and with local anesthesia. A risk-benefit analysis shows benefits exceed risks by a large margin. Over their lifetime up to half of uncircumcised males will suffer a medical condition as a result of retaining their foreskin.

    The ethics of infant MC and childhood vaccination are comparable. Our analysis finds MC is beneficial, safe and cost-effective, and should optimally be performed in infancy. In the interests of public health and individual well-being, adequate parental education, and steps to facilitate access and affordability should be encouraged in developed countries.

    Full Paper: PDF (Size:165KB), PP.79-92, Pub. Date: 2012-02-24. DOI: 10.4236/ojpm.2012.21012

    Author details:

    Brian J. Morris, PhD DSc FAHA Professor, School of Medical Sciences and Bosch Institute, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006

    Alex D. Wodak, AM FRACP FAChAM FAFPHM Director, Alcohol and Drug Service, St Vincents Hospital, Sydney NSW 2010

    Adrian Mindel, MB ChB MSc MD FRCP FRACP FAChSHM Professor of Sexual Health Medicine, University of Sydney and Director of the Sexually Transmitted Infections Research Centre (STIRC), Westmead Hospital, Sydney NSW 2145

    Leslie Schrieber, MB BS MD FRACP Associate Professor, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney NSW 2065

    Karen A. Duggan, BSc MBBS MD FRACP, Nephrologist, North Ryde NSW 2113

    Anthony Dilley, MB BS FRACS Paediatric surgeon, Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick, Sydney, NSW 2031

    Robin J. Willcourt, MB BS FRANZCOG FACOG Medical Director of Pregnancy Advisory Centre, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Adelaide SA 5011

    Michael Lowy, MB BS MPH FAChSHM (RACP) Lecturer in Men's Health, University of New South Wales and University of Notre Dame Sydney; Director, Sydney Men's Health, Sydney NSW 2011

    David A. Cooper, AO FAA MD DSc FRACP FRCPA FRCP Director, The Kirby Institute for Infection and Immunity in Society (formerly the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research), University of New South Wales and St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney NSW 2010

    Eugenie R. Lumbers, MD BS DSc FAA Emeritis Scientia Professor, University of New South Wales; School of Biomedical Sciences & Mothers & Babies Research Centre, University of Newcastle & Hunter Medical Research Institute, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle NSW 2300

    C. Terry Russell, OAM MB BS President, Circumcision Foundation of Australia; General Practitioner, Russell Medical Centre, Macgregor, Qld 4109

    Stephen R. Leeder, AO MD PhD BSc(Med) FRACP FAFPHM FFPH(UK) FRACGP(Hon) Director, Menzies Centre for Health Policy, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, NSW 2006

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    Professor Brian Morris, School of medical Sciences, University of Sydney

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    Serene Johnson

    Registered Nurse

    I am a Registered Nurse.I have a particular interest in patient advocacy, as well as ethics. Ethical treatment of those who cannot made their own ... View Profile

    Long answer above, written by a man who only references his own work. 

    There are no health benefits to circumcision. If there were, the RACP would recommend it. Even the AAP doesnt recommend it. 

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