A new policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is likely to throw fuel on the fiery controversy surrounding male infant circumcision.
The AAP's statement touts the circumcision-aap-policy-statement-benefits-risks.html">medical benefits of circumcision while stopping short of recommending the procedure, which opponents decry as painful and unnecessary. For instance, new research has found that circumcision lowers the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, genital herpes, human papillomavirus and syphilis.
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Circumcision seems to be on the decline in the United States (a 2005 Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality study put the rate at about 56 percent), but the practice has long religious and cultural roots. Here are five circumcision facts that may come as a surprise.
1. It was once touted as a cure for paralysis In the late 1800s, doctors turned to circumcision to "cure" an array of ailments, from childhood fevers to brass poisoning to paralysis. This era was a boom time for genital surgery -- women were losing their ovaries to the knife in the name of curing hysteria -- but it was an 1870 case that shone the spotlight on circumcision.