October 1984

Neonatal Circumcision

Author Affiliations

225 W 106th St New York, NY 10025

Am J Dis Child. 1984;138(10):989. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1984.02140480091029

Sir.—Thompson's editorial "The Value of Neonatal Circumcision: An Unanswered and Perhaps Unanswerable Question"1 was a welcome contribution in clarifying the confusion within the American Academy of Pediatrics Ad Hoc Task Force on Circumcision, which Thompson chaired. Thompson wrote that their 1975 report2 was a "compromise" that stated there was no "absolute medical indication for routine circumcision of the newborn." The confusion engendered by such a "compromise" is reflected in his editorial on three issues: venereal disease (VD), cancer, and hygiene.

A century ago there was general acceptance that syphilis and gonorrhea were associated with foreskin retention. Circumcision was thought to prevent VD. The most recent physician-authored book on circumcision (1973) was titled by urologist Abraham Ravich: Preventing VD and Cancer by Circumcision (New York, Philosophical Library Inc). Virtually no one, to my knowledge, accepts this view today. Today, the "whipping boy" is genital herpes. Thompson takes cognizance

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