IMPORTANCE OF CIRCUMCISION
- 7 Articles
- Age 17
Since the 19th century, many English-speaking peoples have adopted the custom of circumcision, primarily for medical reasons. In modern medical practice, circumcision of males is a minor operation usually performed in infancy for hygienic purposes. It is currently estimated that about two-thirds of male babies born in the United States are circumcised. The incidence among non-Jewish populations of continental Europe, Scandinavia, and South America is lower.
The medical case for circumcision has been tinged with controversy. Physicians in the 19th century advised the operation for many ailments, including hysteria, sexually transmitted disease, hypersexuality, and even hiccups. Modern proponents suggest that diseases result from the buildup of smegma, a substance secreted under the foreskin. Also cited is evidence that circumcised populations (especially Jews) display lower rates of penile and cervical cancer. Research findings reported in 2006 indicated that circumcision could lower by more than half the risk of contracting AIDS among men who engaged in heterosexual intercourse. The research was conducted in Africa, and experts warned that the findings did not suggest that circumcised men could safely engage in unprotected sex.