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Circumcision practice patterns in South Korea: community based survey


Objectives: To assess the prevalence of circumcision in South Korean young men dwelling in the community, investigate attitudes and perspectives about circumcision, and how they perceive physician involvement in the decision process.

Methods: Between May and November 2001, this cross sectional survey was performed. Of 27 202 men aged 20 years dwelling in the community of Choong-chung South Province, 2700 were randomly selected at a 10.0% sampling fraction after a sampling process by census district and a total of 1742 (64.5%) agreed to participate in the study. These subjects completed self administered questionnaires and we included 1674 men (a response rate 62.0%) in the study.

Results: The overall proportion of circumcised was 1306 (78.0%) and an additional 192 (11.5%) wished to be circumcised later. Circumcision was carried out mostly during their elementary and middle school years. Of men circumcised, the decision whether to circumcise was most often made by their parents. Of the subjects, 75.0% believed that circumcision is necessary, while 2.9% believed it to be unnecessary. Among those who believed circumcision to be necessary, the most common reason was to improve penile hygiene (89.1%).

Conclusions: Our results indicate a positive attitude toward circumcision in South Korean men, linking it with hygienic practices. Circumcision in South Korea depends on the perpetuation of cultural beliefs that support it.

  • circumcision
  • foreskin
  • phimosis
  • hygiene

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