Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Response To AAP statement on Routine Infant Circumcision

Recently The AAP issued a statement saying the the benefits of male infant circumcision outweighed the risks. In response to this a group of doctors mustered research disproving the grounds on which the AAP made this claim. Unfortunately, main media channels are parroting this inaccurate research.

The group that made the response report is Doctors Opposing Circumcision. Their site may be found here.

Here are some highlights of their research (I left the references out of the quotes, you can look at the statement yourself to find them):

1) HIV claims:

"The decision to create a new task force was based on the publication in 2005 and 2007 of three randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that were carried out in Africa. The three studies purported to prove that male circumcision provided a 60 percent reduction in female to male heterosexual transmission of HIV.

Since 2007 a substantial number of papers have been published that debunk the claims of the three RCTs. The task force totally ignored these important papers. Recent evidence shows higher rates of HIV infection among circumcised men as compared to non-circumcised men in numerous population groups, however the task force did not choose to report this information."

2) STD infection claims:

"The task force claims that male circumcision reduces STD infection by forty to sixty percent. The task force frequently uses unreliable studies from Africa that may not be applicable to the United States, of which many were produced by the pro-circumcision Bloomberg group.

American studies that do not confirm the task force hypothesis that the foreskin contributes to STD infection were ignored. Van Howe (1999) said in his systematic review, “In summary, the medical literature does not support the theory that circumcision prevents STDs.” A longitudinal study of a birth cohort in Dunedin, New Zealand found little difference in
STDs in circumcised and intact males."

3) Motivations of the task force that issued the report:
  •  Susan Blank, MD, MPD, an infectious disease specialist with no expertise in pediatrics and a well-documented religio-cultural bias in favor of male circumcision.
  • Andrew Freeman, MD, a pediatric urologist, who is reported to have
    circumcised his own son for religio-cultural reasons
  • Douglas Diekema MD, who TWICE –both in 1996 and again in 2010 — on
    behalf of the AAP, proposed a lucrative “ritual nick” to the genitals of female children, despite the existence of a U.S. federal law forbidding this practice
  • Steven Wegner, MD, JD, a doctor-lawyer, who serves on the AAP Committee on Health Care Financing, (whose sole focus is the income flow, over $1.25 billion, annually, —$2.25 billion or more if circumcision could be made mandatory).

4) The REAL motivation for the study:

The AAP has been concerned about state Medicaid agencies stopping payment for unnecessary circumcision because its doctors get less money. The protection of the source of the money is so important to the AAP that a section on financing newborn circumcision by third-party payers has been included in this so-called medical position statement. A careful reading of this 2012 Circumcision Policy Statement shows that the task force was created five years ago with the clear intention of using fear of HIV infection to make infant circumcision nearly universal in the United States. If this happened, the medical industry’s
income from circumcision would increase from about $1.25 billion to about $2.25 billion.

The AAP, ACOG, and AAFP apparently saw HIV infection prevention as the way to make this happen. Unfortunately for their scheme, the three African RCTs have been debunked in the five years that have elapsed since the formation of the task force. One apparent purpose for this statement is to cause taxpayer-funded Medicaid to start paying doctors to perform non-therapeutic, unnecessary circumcisions again. To increase the income of their members (fellows), these medical associations are willing to put all American boys under the circumcision knife.

5) My Thoughts:

I'm outraged that recently in the media there has been a slough of pro-circumcision reports based on studies that have been debunked. I'm also disappointed in the mass-media for not taking the time to do more investigation before brainwashing Americans into believing they should take away the right of their own children to make decisions about their own body. The few people who I know who are uncircumcised would never be circumcised if given the choice. To me, I see infant circumcision as a gross violation of human rights, not just in terms of the pain caused but also in terms of your rights over your own body.

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