At Scientific American, Jesse Bering objects to calling circumcision “mutilation”, apparently believing that the word is somehow offensive. What he’s really doing, of course, is trying to rule a line of reasoning, viz. that circumcision is mutilation, off limits by declaring it politically incorrect.
He then goes on to list the reasons that circumcision is a net health benefit for men, with prevention of HIV infection at the top of the list. (Bering is openly gay, but the studies to which he refers mostly concern heterosexuals – in Africa.) Yet HIV infection among exclusively heterosexual, non-drug-abusing men in North America and Europe is so rare as to be non-existent. (Statistics here seem hard to come by; most heterosexual, HIV-positive men appear to be IV drug abusers.)
But of course there are much more effective ways than circumcision of preventing HIV transmission; it’s just that society doesn’t want to consider any of those ways, having declared that gay male sex is a fundamental right.
In any case, there is a list here refuting common arguments used by the American Academy of Pediatrics in their recent declaration on circumcision. Regarding HIV, it states:
Professionals have challenged many studies cited by the AAP report. For example, the AAP report mentions studies that claim reduced HIV transmission in Africa for circumcised men. However, (1) About 60 circumcisions were required to prevent one HIV infection. (2) The studies did not seek to determine the source of the HIV infections. Most HIV infections in Africa are transmitted by contaminated injections and surgical procedures. (3) The studies were not consistent with other evidence. (4) In Europe, where circumcision is rare, there is no increase in the incidence of HIV transmission. (5) Studies of African adults cannot be applicable to American infants.
All that seems beside the point, however. The fact is that this mutilating surgical procedure is performed on non-consenting infants. Parents can consent to medical/surgical treatment of their children, but in the case of circumcision, there is no immediate medical benefit, and the infant boy is in no danger of illness or death from being uncircumcised. Therefore, circumcision on infant boys should be banned, and when a male reaches the age of majority, he can consent to the operation himself should he so desire. (Why he would desire a circumcision I can’t imagine, but some people pierce themselves or have whimsical and vulgar designs permanently engraved on their bodies, so to each his own I guess.)