Male circumcisions can decrease women's risk of developing the human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a new study published in The Lancet. Women whose sexual partners were circumcised were 28 percent less likely to acquire the virus, the study found.
This information may come as a blow to those who take a strong stance against the routine practice of circumcision -- namely "intactivists," an anti-circumcision activist group in San Francisco that seeks to ban the practice for anyone under the age of 18. The group consideres circumcision to be a form of genital mutilation and should require consent, something newborns are incapable of expressing.
"This is a very heated topic," Karen Boyle, M.D., Director of Reproductive Medicine & Surgery at Chesapeake Urology Associates, told ABC News.
So where does the medical community stand on the issue? "They're kind of wishy-washy," said Boyle. The jury is still out in the medical industry when it comes to routine circumcision; there is not enough data yet to endorse it, nor does it present enough of a safety risk to warrant a ban, she said.
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