Sexual Health news - Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Circumcision reduces likelihood of STDs later in life

Right after the birth of a new baby boy, most parents are faced with the decision of whether to get their child circumcised. For some, it's an easier choice due to cultural or religious beliefs, but it's important to think it through and consider how it may affect the individual later in life. A new study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine reported that the population decrease in circumcision throughout the nation may be linked to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Currently in the U.S., about 55 to 65 percent of boys are circumcised, according to the Nemours Foundation. The routine procedure surgically removes the foreskin from the tip of the penis, and is typically performed during the first 10 days of life. However, over the past 20 years, the prevalence of the procedure has declined.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins discussed that the increase in STDs and HIV cases is costing the healthcare system lots of money. More than $4.4 billion could be saved if males underwent the procedure.

"Our economic evidence is backing up what our medical evidence has already shown to be perfectly clear," said Aaron Tobian, M.D., an assistant professor at the university. "There are health benefits to infant male circumcision in guarding against illness and disease, and declining male circumcision rates come at a severe price, not just in human suffering, but in billions of healthcare dollars as well."

This does not solely affect males, but their female sexual partners as well. If the rate of circumcisions in the U.S. became as low as it is in Europe, there would be a 50 percent increase in cases of bacterial vaginal infections, as well as a greater chance of spreading strains of the human papillomavirus, some of which may cause cervical cancer.