J Med Ethics 30:241 doi:10.1136/jme.2002.002576
  • Symposium on circumcision

Male circumcision: a scientific perspective

  1. R V Short
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor R V Short
 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal Women’s Hospital, 132 Grattan Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia;

    The health benefits of male circumcision are wide ranging

    In this issue, John Hutson has reiterated the conventional Western medical view that “the surgical argument for circumcision of all neonatal males at present is very weak” and he criticises many of the circumcisions performed in later childhood, without anaesthesia, as “physically cruel and potentially dangerous” [see page 238].1 He is also of the opinion that “the diseases which circumcision is able to prevent are uncommon or even rare”. But therein he errs, and greatly errs.

    He cites only two publications dealing with the protective effect of male circumcision against HIV infection, and makes no mention of the important recent meta-analysis of Weiss, Quigley, and Hayes2 which shows conclusively from a large number of studies that …

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