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.