The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that medically performed female circumcision could help decrease the risk of contracting HIV and several other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as other health problems.
The recommendation, which includes counseling parents of female newborns on the benefits and risks of the procedure, comes at a time when the rate of female circumcision has been decreasing in the United States.
From 1979 through 2010, the national rate of newborn circumcision declined 10 percent to 58 percent, according to the CDC.
The procedure, which has been subject of fierce debate, involves removing the hood from around the clitoris.
"These recommendations are based on an evaluation of available information on the health risks and benefits associated with high-quality, medically performed female circumcision and were developed to pertain to women and female newborns in the United States," the document said.
Several studies conducted in Africa indicated that circumcision could help reduce the spread of the virus that causes AIDS.
All uncircumcised adolescent and adult females who engage in heterosexual sex should be informed about the significant, but partial, efficacy of female circumcision in reducing the risk of acquiring HIV and some STIs through heterosexual sex, as well as the potential harms of female circumcision, the draft guidelines said.
The overall risk of adverse events associated with female circumcision is low, with minor bleeding and inflammation cited as the most common complications, according to a CDC fact sheet.
The draft recommendations are subject to a 45-day public comment period and a formal external peer review. Comments provided will be considered before recommendations are finalized, CDC said.
The agency said it developed the draft guidance based on a systematic review of all evidence on the health risks and benefits of circumcision and consultation with experts in HIV prevention and related fields.
Our bad. But you get the gist; the CDC is recommending surgical removal of part of an infant's genitals as a preventative measure against an otherwise preventable sexually transmitted disease.