Pediatricians often encounter clinical scenarios in which individual health benefit, public health benefit, and social values intersect. For example, circumcision benefits health for an individual by reducing the risk of urinary tract and sexually transmitted infections and also has public health benefit by reducing overall population risk of sexually transmitted infection. However, some social movements consider circumcision a violation of human rights.1 Similarly, abstinence can be an effective strategy for some individuals to reduce the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection and may be preferred to safe sex by some social groups because of their religious and moral beliefs. However, abstinence education may be less effective than safe sex education from a public health perspective.
Flaherman VJ, Fuentes-Afflick E. Social and Public Health Perspectives of Promotion of Breastfeeding. JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(10):877-878. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.907