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CDC and APP Create PTSD in Men from Circumcision

Did you know that the CDC has weighed in the male circumcision? Their statement is based on the findings that circumcision helps prevent HIV and other infectious diseases and STD's.

The CDC has developed Information for Providers To Share with Male Patients and Parents Regarding Male Circumcision and the Prevention of HIV infection, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and other Health Outcomes In addition, CDC developed documents to describe the evidence that serves as the basis for this information, and to provide CDC responses to peer and public review.

Prevention of HIV Infection, Sexually Transmitted Infections, and other Health Outcomes

Circumcision’s Psychological Damage

Circumcision studies found that these procedures often produce symptoms which are very similar to those of childhood sexual abuse, including dissociation and the development of a negative body image.

Men who had this surgery in childhood experienced more depressive symptoms, anxiety, and interpersonal difficulties than men who did not have the surgery.

Circumcision in childhood and adolescence has significant negative psychological consequences. Following a traumatic event, many children experience anxiety, depression, and anger; and many others try to avoid and suppress these painful feelings. (Gil, 2006)

In addition, children often experience a debilitating loss of control that negatively affects their ability to regulate emotions and make sense of the traumatic experience. (Van der Kolk, 2005)

In a study of adults circumcised in childhood, Hammond (1999) found that many men conceptualized their circumcision experience as an act of violence, mutilation, or sexual assault. 

Kennedy (1986) detailed the psychological effects of circumcision in a case study describing the psychotherapy of a boy who was circumcised at three years of age. The sense of inadequacy, feelings of victimization, and violent sexual fantasies experienced during this boy’s adolescence were found to be both consciously and unconsciously linked to his experience with losing part of his penis (Kennedy, 1986). 

The Majority of Boys Circumcised as Children and Adolescents Meet Diagnostic Criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)



The circumcision of children has myriad negative psychological consequences that the CDC has failed to consider.  Removing healthy tissue in the absence of any medical need harms the patient and is a breach of medical providers’ ethical duty to the child.  We believe that all people have a right to bodily autonomy and self-determination and deeply respect this fundamental tenet of international human rights law (UNESCO 2005).  As children cannot advocate for themselves, they need adults to understand the complexities of their emotional experiences and provide them special protection.  We oppose the CDC’s circumcision recommendation and encourage all parents to do the same in order to protect their children from physical and psychological harm.

Darcia F. Narvaez Ph.D., Moral Landscapes


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