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To Fight HIV, U.S. May Urge Circumcision for Baby Boys

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In an effort to help control the spread of the AIDS-causing HIV virus, U.S. health officials are weighing whether to promote routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the country.

The topic is sure to be controversial, even though proposed recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren't expected until the end of the year, The New York Times reported.

Also under consideration is whether the surgery should be recommended for heterosexual men whose sexual practices make them risky candidates for infection. But health officials already know that such a recommendation would probably not have a significant impact in the United States because the surgery doesn't seem to protect those men at greatest risk in the country -- gay men, the newspaper said.

Studies in African countries hit hard by AIDS have shown that men who were circumcised reduced their chances of infection by 50 percent. But the African trials focused on heterosexual men at risk of HIV infection from infected female partners, the Times said.

For the time being, U.S. health officials seem to be focusing on recommendations for newborns -- a strategy that would take years to pay health-care dividends. Critics of circumcision say it subjects baby boys to medically unnecessary surgery without their consent, the newspaper said.

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