Circumcision myths and facts

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Work in progress: The following information does not claim to be complete. More content will be added gradually.

There are many myths surrounding the topic of circumcision that try to justify the foreskin amputation, which is medically unnecessary. They are all unproven and scientifically refuted. In addition, they are legally on extremely thin ice, since human rights also apply to babies and children.

This article which was inspired by intactivist Shalea Self, tries to list them in an alphabetical order to help people find arguments against forced circumcision on minors (aka foreskin amputation aka genital mutilation) easier.


Myth: Penile cancer can be protected by circumcision in childhood.

Myth origin: Abraham L. Wolbarst (1926)

Fact: Circumcision does not reduce the risk.


Wondered what your baby went through?


Myth: HIV can be prevented by the "vaccine" circumcision.

Myth origin: Robert C. Bailey (2007)

Fact: Circumcision does not reduce the risk of HIV. Two population-based studies from 2021 have finally fully debunked this myth. September 2021 saw the publication of two huge population studies on the relationship of circumcision and HIV infection:

  1. Mayan et al. (2021) carried out a massive empirical study of the male population of the province of Ontario, Canada (569,950 males), of whom 203,588 (35.7%) were circumcised between 1991 and 2017. The study concluded that circumcision status is not related to risk of HIV infection.[1]
  2. Morten Frisch & Jacob Simonsen (2021) carried out a large scale empirical population study in Denmark of 855,654 males regarding the alleged value of male circumcision in preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in men. They found that circumcised men have a higher rate of STI and HIV infection overall than intact men.[2]

No association between lack of circumcision and risk of HIV infection was found by either study. There now is credible evidence that the massive, expensive African circumcision programs have not been effective in preventing HIV infection.

HIV resources:


Long term consequences of high levels of pain in infants

Pain of circumcision and inadequate pain relief:

96% of infants circumcised are done so without pain relief. The pain relief given (remaining 4%) is proven only mild relief with infant heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels still rising greatly during the procedure:

Pain management/The effectiveness of anesthesia:

Penile inflammation

In young boys ...

Psychological consequences

of circumcision

Permanent trauma on the boys brain:


of circumcision:


Decrease in penile sensitivity long term.


Increased risk due to circumcision.


Circumcision does not reduce the risk.


Myth: UTI (urinary tract infections) can be prevented by circumcision in childhood.

Myth origin: Thomas E. Wiswell (1985)

Fact: Circumcision does not prevent UTI.

In fact, UTI are a complication of circumcision:

Here you find collected UTI resources:

Research by subtopic:

Other aspects

Nursing home debate

See also

  • REFjournal Mayan M, Hamilton RJ, Juurlink DN, Austin PC, Jarvi KA. Circumcision and Risk of HIV Among Males From Ontario, Canada. J Urol. 23 September 2021; PMID. DOI. Retrieved 21 August 2022.
    Quote: We found that circumcision was not independently associated with the risk of acquiring HIV among men from Ontario, Canada.
  • REFjournal Frisch M, Simonsen J. Non-therapeutic male circumcision in infancy or childhood and risk of human immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted infections: national cohort study in Denmark. Eur J Epidemiol. 26 September 2021; 37: 251–9. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 16 January 2022.