Male Genital Mutilation: Bad Science (Part 2)
In Part 1, I spoke of faults in pro-circumcision rhetoric and attitudes that condone genital cutting. Now we will examine some evidence in favor of circumcision.
The trials in Africa, conducted from 2005-2007 and often referenced, have been shown to use poor methodology. Brian D. Earp, who has written rigorously on this topic, familiarizes us with others who have done extensive research:
While the “gold standard” for medical trials is the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, the African trials suffered [a number of serious problems] including problematic randomization and selection bias, inadequate blinding, lack of placebo-control (male circumcision could not be concealed), inadequate equipoise, experimenter bias, attrition (673 drop-outs in female-to-male trials), not investigating male circumcision as a vector for HIV transmission, not investigating non-sexual HIV transmission, as well as lead-time bias, supportive bias (circumcised men received additional counseling sessions), participant expectation bias, and time-out discrepancy (restraint from sexual activity only by circumcised men).
Other studies research HPV, urinary tract infections, and other conditions, indicating that circumcision helps with them. However, they tend to be insufficient to recommend circumcision, and the alleged benefits negligible due to already existing treatments. For example, urinary tract infections are uncommon in males and easy to treat, and standard safe-sex practices such as maintaining bodily hygiene and using condoms are far more proven than circumcision in terms of effectiveness.
Finally, one would expect worldwide statistics and medical consensus to be different. It appears that many health organizations again, do not find existing data sufficient to support routine circumcision. And while correlation is not causation, places such as Africa, where circumcision is prevalent, do not seem to see any real effect on STD rates, for instance. Circumcision is not the solution it’s made out to be, and misinformation is not a substitute for safe sex education.
Click here for Part 3, where we will examine circumcision further, and give our final comments.