In his November editorial, “Does male circumcision cut risk of HIV infection?” Dr. Robert L. Barbieri encouraged readers to share their circumcision practices. I tell parents the decision is influenced by many considerations, which include cultural, religious, hygienic, and medical factors, and I explain that the risks are relatively minor when the procedure is performed by a skilled physician. I also point out that every week at the local children’s hospital, several boys undergo circumcision at their own or their parents’ request; these procedures usually involve general anesthesia and carry a greater risk of bleeding and infection than does neonatal circumcision.
Russ Jelsema, MD
Grand Rapids, Mich