HPV Vaccine Recommended For Boys
Special Report - October 27, 2011
An advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that boys as young as 11 years old be vaccinated against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. On October 25, the CDC announced that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is now recommending all 11 and 12-year-old boys be vaccinated against HPV. Additionally, the panel recommends that all “young men 13 to 21 years of age who hadn’t already received the vaccine should also be vaccinated.” Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, laid out the rationale for the decision in a press briefing, saying, “The greatest impact can be had when the vaccine is given at ages 11 or 12 where there is a better immune response compared with older ages. The vaccine is most effective when it is given before there is exposure to the virus which occurs through sexual contact.” Written recommendations from the CDC are pending.
Today approximately 20 million Americans are infected with HPV, which is associated with several cancers, most commonly cancer of the neck and head in men, and genital warts. Dr. Schuchat stated, “[m]en who have sex with men and people who are infected with HIV are at the highest risk for HPVrelated disease.”
In June 2006, the FDA controversially approved the vaccine, Gardasil, for females ages nine to 26. It protects against cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers and genital warts caused by four of the more than 100 different strains of HPV, which is the most common STD in the U.S. and is the leading cause of cervical cancer worldwide. HPV is transmitted almost exclusively through sexual activity, including skin-to-skin contact. The three-dose vaccination has been recommended for all girls ages 11 and 12, and for women through age 26 who did not receive any or all of the three doses. In October 2009, the vaccine was approved for use in boys and young men to prevent genital warts. The approval was expanded in December 2010 to include the prevention of anal cancer in both boys and girls.
Recent reports have found that only a relatively small percentage of young women are getting vaccinated, something the CDC sees as problematic. In light of fewer girls being vaccinated, Dr. Schuchat touted male vaccination against HPV as a way of reducing “the spread of HPV from males to females “ and “some of the HPVrelated burden that women suffer” by reducing the number of infected boys with whom girls have sexual contact.
“Although vaccines may help in some cases, the assumptions of many in the education and health fields are that children are going to have sex,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “What practitioners in both fields need to emphasize with children, is that sexually transmitted diseases are acquired by having sex and that the only sure way to not become infected is to abstain from sex until marriage. If this were the norm, sexually transmitted diseases would be much less of a problem.”
HPV Vaccine Received by NC Girls- September 24, 2009
New Sex Ed Law Implementation Underway- September 3, 2009
Controversial Vaccine Defended by FDA- August 25, 2009
HPV Vaccine: Deciding for Our Children- FNC - Summer 2007
NC Senate Approves Cervical Cancer Bill- March 27, 2007
Merck Halts Lobbying Effort on HPV Vaccine- February 21, 2007
CDC Concludes Abstinence Surest Way to Prevent HPV- February 5, 2004
Congress to Investigate HPV- January 2, 2004
HPVHuman Papillomavirus. Why it matters to adolescent sexual health and education- Findings -July 2003
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