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The practice of circumcision has been up for debate as many healthcare councils and groups continue to flip-flop their support or non-support of the procedure. Currently, there is a new study out that suggests the health benefits of circumcision may outweigh the risks. However, many Medicaid programs have cut funding for the procedure, leaving families with more than just the choice of weather or not to have the procedure done.
The study states that circumcising a child can help protect against the transmission of HIV, genital herpes, and the Human Papalloma Virus (HPV). It is also believed that foreskin removal can protect against other STDs, as well; but more research will have to be done to prove this. These benefits are in addition to commonly known benefits of the procedure, including lower rates of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and individualized problems with the foreskin itself.
The study also indicates that circumcision not only benefits the male, but also impacts females too. HPV, an easily transmitted disease, is the largest cervical cancer-causing condition in women affecting 8 out of every 10 women. While HPV can be treated, it can also go unnoticed until the problem is severe. This study also found that removing foreskin cuts down on the transmission of HIV in heterosexual couples. The study did not indicate any lessening risk of STD transmission between same sex couples.
Currently, most pediatric and health-related organizations sit on the fence regarding circumcision. They continue to release information for both benefits and risks of the procedure, but seem to ultimately believe the decision should be left up to each individual household to make. Yet, many states and local governments appear to disagree, as their circumcision support waivers over time. Currently, 18 states have cut circumcision from their Medicaid programs. Because situations like this, it is expected that there will be an increase in healthcare spending for our country due to related illnesses in non-circumcised cases.
The continued debate on circumcision will dictate the path this practice will take. Healthcare agencies continue to push that this is a family decision. However, with the procedure being eliminated from Medicaid plans, and more than likely private insurances following suit, it leaves a very limited amount of choice.Sources: New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/science/benefits-of-circumcision-outweigh-risks-pediatric-group-says.html boston.com: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/health/mdmama/2012/08/circumcision_update_benefits_outweigh_risks_but_its_still_a_personal_decision.html NY Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/health-benefits-circumcision-outweigh-risks-newborns-doctors-article-1.1145214?pgno=1 Time Healthland: http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/27/circumcision-pediatricians-say-benefits-trump-risks/