Essay on Male Circumcision: A Social And Medical Misconception

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Male Circumcision: A Social and Medical Misconception

University of Johns Hopkins


Male circumcision is defined as a surgical procedure in which the prepuce of the penis is separated from the glands and excised. (Mosby, 1986) Dating as far back as 2800 BC, circumcision has been performed as a part of religious ceremony, as a puberty or premarital rite, as a disciplinary measure, as a reprieve against the toxic effects of vaginal blood, and as a mark of slavery.
(Milos & Macris, 1992) In the United States, advocacy of circumcision was perpetuated amid the Victorian belief that circumcision served as a remedy against the ills of masturbation and systemic disease. (Lund, 1990) The scientific community further reinforced
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The authors conclusions suggest a 10 to 20-fold increase in risk for UTI in the uncircumcised male in the first year of life. (Thompson, 1990) However, Thompson
(1990) reports that in these studies analysis of the data was very crude and there were no controls for the variables of age, race, education level, or income. The statistical findings from further studies are equally misconstruing.
In 1986, Wiswell and Roscelli reported an increase in the number of UTIs as the circumcision rate declined. By clearly leaving out "aberrant data", the results of the study are again very misleading. In 1989, Herzog from Boston Children's
Hospital reported on a retrospective case-control study on the relationship between the incidence of UTI and circumcision in the male infant under one year of age. Here too, the results were not adjusted to account for the variables of age, ethnicity, and drop-out rate of the participants. It is obvious that this research is statistically weak and should not be the criteria on which to decide for or against neonatal circumcision.
Lund (1990) reports that a study conducted by Parker and associates estimates the relative risk of uncircumcised males to be double that of circumcised males for acquiring herpes genitalis, candidiasis, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Simonsen and coworkers performed a case-control study on 340 men in
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