Mano Singham has discovered a good analysis of the claim that circumcision has health benefits. I agree with it entirely, because I looked at those same papers and came to the same conclusion a year ago! So they must be right.
The analysis points out a few new things I hadn’t noticed, in addition to the bad experimental design and the inflated statistics: the results were confounded by the fact that the newly circumcised individuals also got additional counseling about safe sex, and were restricted in their sexual practices by their surgical wounds. It’s bad research coming to impractical and unrealistic conclusions, and they suggest that there are better answers than promoting this shaky idea that circumcision reduces the risk of AIDS.
Rather than wasting resources on circumcision, which is less effective, more expensive, and more invasive, focusing on iatrogenic sources and secondary prevention should be the priority, since it provides the most impact for the resources expended.
Exactly — the defense of circumcision is ludicrous, it’s an unnecessary cosmetic surgery promoted entirely for historically religious reasons, and it’s time to stop.