It is a surgical removal of the foreskin, ie the skin that covers the end of the penis. 


The reasons for removing the foreskin are

• common practice, especially in Jewish and Islamic communities, but usually also in communities living on the African continent; 

• prevention of HIV infection - circumcision in heterosexuals has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection, and therefore such practices are encouraged mainly in areas with a high incidence of HIV disease; 

• phimosis (narrowed foreskin) - a condition consisting in the inability to pass the foreskin through the glans penis, which can subsequently cause erectile pain, urination and frequent inflammation.