Why circumcision is a biomedical imperative for the 21(st) century

Bioessays. 2007 Nov;29(11):1147-58. doi: 10.1002/bies.20654.


Circumcision of males represents a surgical "vaccine" against a wide variety of infections, adverse medical conditions and potentially fatal diseases over their lifetime, and also protects their sexual partners. In experienced hands, this common, inexpensive procedure is very safe, can be pain-free and can be performed at any age. The benefits vastly outweigh risks. The enormous public health benefits include protection from urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted HIV, HPV, syphilis and chancroid, penile and prostate cancer, phimosis, thrush, and inflammatory dermatoses. In women circumcision of the male partner provides substantial protection from cervical cancer and chlamydia. Circumcision has socio-sexual benefits and reduces sexual problems with age. It has no adverse effect on penile sensitivity, function, or sensation during sexual arousal. Most women prefer the circumcised penis for appearance, hygiene and sex. Given the convincing epidemiological evidence and biological support, routine circumcision should be highly recommended by all health professionals.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Circumcision, Male / adverse effects
  • Circumcision, Male / economics
  • Circumcision, Male / history*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Female
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Penile Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology
  • Sexual Partners
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / economics
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / economics
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / etiology