It's been argued by various medical organizations that male circumcision has various medical benefits, such as reducing the risk of catching HIV, or reducing the risk of urinary tract infections, for instance. Are there any respectable scientific studies to back these assertions up?
There is evidence that neonatal circumcision saying that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks.
According to a study done on neonatal circumcision, the lifetime benefits of being circumcised outweighed the risks 100 to 1. Some of the risks people may associate with circumcision are very unlikely. Excessive bleeding only happens 0.1% of the time, infections 0.02% of the time, and loss of penis 0.0001% of the time. The percentage of death is only 0.00001%.
Overall, it shows that males who have been circumcised require half as much medical attention as males who have not been circumcised. Also, the overall risk of circumcised men having serious medical implications is 1 to 5000; this includes things like HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
This graph contains other relevant information.
There are some people who disagree with the article mentioned above. In a direct statement against the article, it is said that the article is "marred by bias." They note how the article fails to mention many things, such as statements against circumcision and harms in sexual experience. It doesn't completely refute the article that says circumcision is beneficial, but it is something good to think about.
There is some evidence which supports that male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV infection among heterosexual men in sub-Saharan Africa(1),(2), however the evidence of an HIV benefits for men who have sex with men is less clear(3),(4) and its use to prevent HIV in the developed world is unclear either(5).
Therefore if you're not living in Africa or areas with high rates of HIV, the potential risks outweighs health benefits associated with circumcision. As currently no major medical organization recommends non-therapeutic neonatal circumcision, and no major medical organization calls for banning it either.
See also: Circumcision at Wikipedia
Circumcision is a form of sexual mutilation performed on male infants usually for religious reasons unrelated to putative health benefits. The claim of reduced risk for HIV infection is supported by this Cochrane review but applies to Africa. Another review looked at urinary tract infections and found insufficient data to draw conclusions.
Circumcision has traditionally been conducted without analgesia and there are some data to suggest stress related manifestations develop in these children compared with the uncircumcised. Furthermore, there have been well publicised deaths resulting from the traditional Jewish practice of sucking on the foreskin to prevent bleeding causing herpes. In any other jurisdiction, this could be considered paedophilia.
Interestingly Iceland is looking to ban neonatal circumcision.