To cut or not to cut, that is the question. Or as a joke in my Hebrew School once went, "Tell me why, tell me why, there's no meat behind my fly, sloppy rabbi?" Or as comedian Robin Williams once remarked, tell me how they cut it off before you know how much you are going to need? Okay, enough jokes about circumcision. It's a very serious thing, doctors are saying again. Could be a lot safer to get it done. As the above drawing suggests, mankind has been doing this for a while. So live longer. Get it done.
Male circumcision can reduce a man's risk of contracting the sexually transmitted infections human papillomavirus and herpes, according to a study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, and reported in today's New York Times:
The new research "adds to the growing scientific evidence that the procedure helps stem the spread of some" STIs, according to the Journal. It follows studies showing that the procedure can reduce a man's risk of contracting HIV through heterosexual sex.
In the new study, researchers compared 1,684 men who were circumcised with a control group of 1,709 uncircumcised men for two years ending in 2007. They found that circumcised men were 35% less likely to contract HPV compared with the uncircumcised men. The circumcised men also were 25% less likely to contract herpes. The study found no effect on the transmission of syphilis. The researchers accounted for condom use, the number of sex partners and additional factors when calculating the men's STI risk.
According to the researchers, male circumcision should become an accepted method to help reduce the risk of STIs from heterosexual sex among men, the AP/Google.com reports. "It must be emphasized that protection was only partial, and it is critical to promote the practice of safe sex," the researchers wrote. Aaron Tobian from Johns Hopkins said, "The scientific evidence for the public health benefits of male circumcision is overwhelming now" .