RACP's policy statement on infant male circumcision is ill-conceived
Article first published online: 25 SEP 2007
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume 30, Issue 1, pages 16–22, February 2006
How to Cite
Morris, B. J., Bailis, S. A., Castellsague, X., Wiswell, T. E. and Halperin, D. T. (2006), RACP's policy statement on infant male circumcision is ill-conceived. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 30: 16–22. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842X.2006.tb00079.x
- Issue published online: 25 SEP 2007
- Article first published online: 25 SEP 2007
- Revision requested: April 2005 Accepted: January 2006
Objective:To conduct a critical peer-review of the 2004 Policy Statement on routine male circumcision produced by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP).
Method:Comprehensive evaluation in the context of the research field.
Results:We find that the current Statement downplays the wide-ranging life-long benefits of circumcision in prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs), penile and cervical cancer, genital herpes and chlamydia in women, HIV infection, phimosis, and various penile dermatoses, and at the same time overstates the complication rate. We highlight the many errors in the RACP Statement and note that it sidesteps making a conclusion based on circumcision's well-documented prophylactic health benefits by instead referring to the status of the foreskin at birth. In the era of preventative medicine we view this as irresponsible.
Conclusion:The RACP's Statement on routine male circumcision is not evidence-based and should be retracted.
Implications:In the interests of public health and individual well-being an extensive, comprehensive, evidence-based revision should be conducted so as to provide scientifically accurate, balanced information on the advantages, and also the low rate of mostly minor complications, associated with this simple procedure, which for maximum benefits and minimal risk should ideally be performed in the neonatal period.