Male circumcision is the removal of the foreskin of the penis.
This usually takes place for religious or medical reasons, for example if the foreskin is too narrow. If the foreskin is too narrow, it leads to erectile problems and it is more difficult to clean the head of the penis. Circumcision as prevention against HIV and other STIs?
In Islam and in Judaism, it is customary to circumcise boys at a very young age. In the United States of America, combatting masturbation was a reason for circumcising boys. For a long time it was thought that the head of the circumcised penis was less sensitive than the head of an uncircumcised penis. This proved to be a myth.
Male circumcision as a way of preventing HIV
Research has shown that the chance of a heterosexual man contracting
HIV is 60% less if he is circumcised. This is because cells located underneath the foreskin are sensitive to HIV. Another reason is that following surgery, the head of the penis develops a layer of hardened skin, making it more difficult for the virus to penetrate the body. This is why male circumcision is used as a way of combating HIV infections among heterosexual men, particularly in countries in
sub-Saharan Africa. These are countries where there are high rates of HIV.
Circumcision is not recommended for countries where HIV is relatively uncommon, such as the Netherlands. No surgery is without risk. Because circumcision does not offer full protection against HIV, it is not a substitute for a condom.
Male circumcision in the Netherlands
In our country, most circumcisions are performed at the Dutch Circumcision Centre. Experienced doctors working at these specialist clinics perform the surgery under local anaesthetic. It goes without saying that it is important that the operation is performed in a sterile environment to combat infections and other risks.
How is circumcision performed?
The penis is injected with local anaesthetic. Once the local anaesthetic has taken effect, the foreskin is detached from the head of the penis and removed. The remaining skin is stitched just under the head of the penis using disposable stitches.