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CDC Considers Routine Newborn Circumcision to Prevent Spread of HIV

August 24, 2009

U.S. health officials "are considering promoting routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the United States to reduce the spread of HIV," the New York Times reports. The topic will be discussed this week at the CDC's National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta. "Experts are also considering whether the surgery should be offered to adult heterosexual men whose sexual practices put them at high risk of infection," according to the Times. Experts acknowledge that routine circumcision "would be unlikely to have a drastic impact" as it did in African countries because "the procedure does not seem to protect those at greatest risk here, men who have sex with men." In addition, most U.S. adult males are already circumcised, the article states. "Critics say [circumcision] subjects baby boys to medically unnecessary surgery without their consent," the Times reports.

Peter Kilmarx, chief of epidemiology for the CDC's division of HIV/AIDs prevention, said, "We have a significant HIV epidemic in this country, and we really need to look carefully at any potential intervention that could be another tool in the toolbox we use to address the epidemic." CDC is expected to release a formal draft of the proposed recommendations by the end of the year (Rabin, 8/23).

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