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Circumcision not
expected to gain U.S. popularity

Circumcision not
expected to gain U.S. popularity

Despite studies showing circumcision cuts HIV risks, demand for the procedure is not expected to grow.

Despite recent studies showing that circumcision can reduce the odds of heterosexual men contracting HIV, with one South African study showing it cut infection risks by 61%, the procedure is not expected to gain popularity in the United States, the Los Angeles Times reports. Although there have been no studies of the effects of circumcision among gay men, many health experts believe that circumcised gay men, particularly those who are the insertive partner during anal sex, are also at a lower HIV risk than their uncircumcised peers.

Circumcision was once routine for newborn boys in the country, with as many as 90% undergoing the procedure, but today the percentage has fallen to just over 50, with that number expected to decrease further, health experts say. Much of the decline is due to doctors abandoning the point of view that the procedure is medically necessary. Some state Medicaid programs and private health insurers also have stopped paying for the procedure.

"Other than condoms and antiretroviral drugs that block transmission during childbirth, circumcision is the next best tool we have to (slow) infections," Thomas Coates, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles, told the Times. But health experts doubt medical groups, particularly the American Academy of Pediatrics, will change their guidelines, which currently do not recommend the procedure.

Uncircumcised men are believed to be at higher risk for HIV infection because sexual fluids, which can contain HIV, can become trapped under the foreskin, which harbors a high concentration of cells that are susceptible to HIV infection. (Advocate.com)

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