PODCAST: Marvin L Wang, MD discusses the CDC’s draft recommendation on adolescent circumcision

January 20, 2015

Marvin L Wang, MD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Director of Newborn Nurseries at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses the CDC’s draft recommendation on the health benefits and risks of circumcision in children and adolescents.

When the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first-ever draft guidelines for comment on circumcision recommending that healthcare providers counsel parents and uncircumcised males on the procedure’s health benefits, it had to know it was wading into controversial waters. At press time, the comment period had just closed with over 3200 opinions posted.

At least part of the controversy is that the CDC’s proposed guide referred to World Health Organization data of adult males in sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV infection rates can range from 15% and 30% versus a US rate of .6%. The WHO data showed that adult male circumcision reduced HIV infection risk by 50% to 60%, and herpes and HPV infection risk-2 pathogens believed to cause cancer of the penis-by 30%.

In our exclusive podcast interview with Marvin L. Wang, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and director of the Newborn Nurseries at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Boston, we asked what pediatricians should know about the evidence of the risk/benefits listed in the CDC’s new draft recommendations-and whether or not it ought to be a routine wellness visit topic for all uncircumcised patients.