Doctors clash over circumcision in Australia

Circumcision wars have broken out in Sydney, with a leading professional body endorsing a policy which discourages it and a group of doctors disputing this in the Medical Journal of Australia. Routine infant circumcision in Australia has been discouraged for years and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians wants it to stay that way.

However, a group of Sydney specialists has described the practice as "sound health policy" which could reduce the chance of transmitting HIV later in life. Sydney physician Alex Wodak argues encouraging parents to have their baby boys circumcised is "common sense", given that the proportion of new HIV cases in Australia associated with heterosexual sex was increasing. “We should be trying nationally to get back to where we were in the 1950s and 60s where the majority of infant males were circumcised," he said.

However, Dr Gervase Chaney, of the College, feels that experience in other countries is not relevant. “We don't agree with it. We believe that the evidence currently would not support that in Australia, that it might be supported in other countries particularly obviously in Africa where there are much higher rates of HIV transmitted heterosexually but that at this stage that that is not something that we would support.” ~ ABC, Sept 20; Courier-Mail, Sept 20

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