WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- While the CDC won't explicitly recommend the circumcision of all newborn males, the agency published what is essentially an endorsement of the common (but still controversial) procedure on Tuesday.
It's the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published recommendations of any kind on the procedure that sees the foreskin covering the head of the penis surgically removed. The draft guidelines, published Tuesday in the Federal Register, recommend that doctors counsel new parents and uncircumcised males on circumcision's health benefits.
Despite the complaints of critics that the procedure is unnecessarily painful and can result in infection, the CDC contends that circumcision's benefits, including a reduced chance of contracting STDs, outweighs the risks. Recent studies have shown that circumcised males are less likely to contract and spread HIV, herpes and HPV.
Despite its endorsement of the procedure, the CDC acknowledged that: "Such decision making is made in the context of not only health considerations, but also other social, cultural, ethical, and religious factors."
Having been published as a draft recommendation, the guidelines will remain open for public comment through January 16.