What Is The Rate Of Circumcision In Adult Men?

Posted by Novoglan

21st Jul 2023

As discussions around health, wellness, and personal choice evolve globally, one topic that consistently emerges is circumcision. A surgical procedure involving the removal of the foreskin from the penis, circumcision is practised for various reasons, including health benefits in selected patients, religious beliefs, and cultural traditions. 

This article seeks to answer a common question: "What is the rate of circumcision in adult men ?" We will explore this topic based on geographical distribution, reasons for the procedure, and changes over time.

Global Rates of Adult Circumcision

Circumcision rates vary greatly worldwide, influenced by cultural, religious, and social factors. While circumcision is commonly performed in infancy, adult circumcision is also practised, albeit at different rates across regions.


In Australia, the overall circumcision rate has decreased over the past few decades, with a significant shift from routine infant circumcision to more selective adult circumcision . The Royal Australasian College of Physicians reports that only a small percentage of male newborns are currently being circumcised. As for adult circumcision , it is estimated that about 4% of Australian men undergo this procedure, primarily driven by medical necessity or personal choice. Public health policies in Australia do not endorse routine neonatal or adult circumcision, instead emphasising informed choice, which likely contributes to these lower rates.

The United States

In the United States, the rate of circumcision in adult men is relatively low compared to neonatal circumcision. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 5% of circumcisions are performed on adolescents and adults.


African countries show a higher rate of adult circumcision due to HIV prevention programs. As the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNAIDS recommend circumcision as a preventative measure against HIV, countries with high HIV rates have seen an increase in adult circumcision. For instance, in South Africa, a substantial number of men undergo circumcision as adults.

Asia and Europe

In most Asian and European countries, adult circumcision rates are relatively low, primarily performed for medical reasons, such as complicated  phimosis (where the tight foreskin may be inflamed, scarred or otherwise diseased).

Reasons Behind Adult Circumcision

Understanding "what is the rate of circumcision in adult men" involves exploring the reasons men choose to undergo this procedure as adults.

Medical Necessity

Men often undergo adult circumcision due to medical conditions like recurrent balanitis, lichen sclerosus / BXO, and paraphimosis.

Personal and Sexual Preference

Some men opt for circumcision due to personal or sexual preferences. These decisions might be based on perceived hygiene benefits, aesthetic preferences, or beliefs about sexual performance.

Religious or Cultural Reasons

Adult circumcision is also prevalent in cultures or religions where it symbolises a rite of passage, commitment to faith, or conformity to community norms, most notably, amongst the Jewish and Muslim faithful.

Changes in Adult Circumcision Rates

Adult circumcision rates have fluctuated over time due to shifts in medical advice, societal norms, and public health initiatives.

Impact of HIV Prevention Programs

In regions with high HIV prevalence, adult circumcision rates have increased due to programs advocating circumcision as a preventative measure.

Changing Medical Advice and Research

As research into circumcision continues, medical advice has evolved, affecting adult circumcision rates. While the procedure was once commonly recommended for health reasons, many health organisations now advocate for personal choice and elevating patient-centric conservative first line treatments, unless medically necessary.

The question "What is the rate of circumcision in adult men?" does not have a simple answer due to diverse global practices and evolving medical advice. 

Whether you are considering adult circumcision for yourself or seeking to understand global health practices, remember that this personal decision should be based on thorough research and consultations with healthcare professionals. Every man's journey is unique, and understanding the rates, reasons, and benefits of adult circumcision can help guide informed choices about this procedure.