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Date : 13-05-05 09:13     
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Decline In Male Infant Circumcision May Lead To Greater Healthcare Costs.
Decline In Male Infant Circumcision May Lead To Greater Healthcare Costs.
Posted on August 23, 2012

Dr. Whang Comments:
I have always been an advocate of infant circumcision.  Lately, the pediatric community felt it was an unnecessary procedure and lead to a significant decline in circumsion rates.  As noted in this article, this will lead to other problems as these children grow up and end up costing significant amount of money to the US health care system.  More importantly, unless we teach these children, proper hygenic techniques and safe sex, they will have more problems than necessary.

Matthew Whang, MD, FACS

As reported in the August 21st edition if the AUA Daily Scope.

Decline In Male Infant Circumcision May Lead To Greater Healthcare Costs.

Reuters (8/21, Pittman) reports on a study published online in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine finding that due to a decline in Medicaid coverage of male circumcision (MC) in the US, fewer babies may be circumcised and that may lead to increases in healthcare costs due to higher rates of urinary tract infections, HIV, penile cancer, and herpes. Currently, over half of baby boys are circumcised, but that number is just one in ten in Europe. The study suggests that a drop to a similar level in the US is possible and that such a decline would raise costs so that for every circumcision not done at a savings of about $250 to $300, there would be a net increase of over $300 in other medical costs.

USA Today (8/21, Painter) reports, “Falling infant circumcision rates could end up costing billions of US healthcare dollars when men and their female partners develop AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections and cancers that could have been prevented. Separately, the American Academy of Pediatrics is about to issue a new policy statement that says infant circumcision has ‘significant’ health benefits, replacing a statement that takes a more neutral stance.”

The Los Angeles Times (8/21, Brown) reports, “Declining rates of circumcision among infants will translate into billions of dollars of unnecessary medical costs in the US as these boys grow up and become sexually active men, researchers at Johns Hopkins University warned.” And, “nearly 80% of the additional projected costs were because of medical care associated with HIV infection in men.”

Medscape (8/21, Fox) reports, “So far, 18 states have eliminated coverage for MCs, and those cuts have been accompanied by decreases in rates of circumcision in those states” from 79% to 54.7% over two decades. Researchers “projected that a decrease to 10% in the rate of male circumcision will increase lifetime healthcare costs by about $407 per man and $43 per woman.” So, “once the cost of the MC procedure is figured in, along with any potential complications that might be associated with it, net healthcare costs would be expected to go up about $505 million,” or “about $313 for every forgone MC procedure.” Also, “in an accompanying editorial, Arleen Leibowitz, PhD, and Katherine Desmond, MS, from the Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services, University of California, Los Angeles, make the case that MC should be included under Medicaid coverage.”

HealthDay (8/21, Gardner) reports, “Study senior author Dr. Aaron Tobian said evidence supporting the medical benefits of male circumcision continues to mount. Included are declines in HIV, genital herpes and penile and cervical cancers, which are caused by sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV).” Tobian said, “I believe the federal Medicaid program should reclassify male circumcision from an optional service to one that all Medicaid insurance plans should cover.”

MedPage Today (8/21, Smith) reports that cost “increases would be driven by – among other things – a 12% increase in lifetime HIV prevalence among men and a 30% rise in human papillomavirus (HPV) among men and women.”

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