Pediatric Group: Circumcision Benefits Outweigh Risks

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The American Academy of Pediatrics shifted its position on circumcision recently, saying the medical procedure for males has more health benefits than risks.

The group stopped short of endorsing circumcision and said parents should still make the final decision for their child.

The American Academy of Pediatrics previously said the procedure can prevent bladder infections and sexually transmitted diseases, but also carried potential downsides like risk of infection.

"The data has certainly been accumulating for the benefits of male circumcision, but at the same time, some of the opponents have turned up the volume. So I think for some of the people it's a little bit confusing still," circumcision supporter Dr. Daniel Halperin said.

The AAP also recognized that compared to when the group's last circumcision study was conducted in 1999, "there is much stronger evidence (now) about protective medical benefits associated with circumcision."

New research shows that circumcision reduces the chances of getting HIV, urinary tract infections, and penile cancer.

Circumcision has been declining nationwide.

But a study in last week's Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, also found that the 20-year decline in circumcision may have already contributed to about $2 billion in additional medical costs for treating infections and other issues related to not having the procedure.

Still, opponents say the procedure is painful and unnecessary.

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