HPV Vaccine for Boys Recommended
Special Report - March 1, 2012
Boys between the ages of 11 and 12 should be routinely vaccinated against the sexually transmitted Human Papillomavirus (HPV), according to a revised recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued this week. The recommendation, which is published in the March 2012 issue of the journal, Pediatrics, is a revision of a previous policy by the AAP that only young girls be vaccinated against HPV, which is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States. In an announcement issued on February 27, the AAP explained that “the vaccine is most effective if administered before the onset of sexual activity, and antibody responses to the vaccine are highest at ages 9 through 15 years. Immunization of children against HPV will help prevent cancers and genital warts caused by HPV.” As we previously reported, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issued a similar recommendation last year, and AAP’s revised policy on the HPV vaccine is based on that recommendation.
HPV, which is transmitted almost exclusively by sexual contact, including skin-to-skin sexual contact, is the leading cause of cervical cancer and anal cancer in females worldwide. According to the AAP recommendation, “high risk HPV types are responsible for a large proportion of cancers of the mouth and pharynx … and of anal and penile cancers” in males. The AAP argues that vaccinating all young boys against HPV will not only “directly” benefit males by helping to prevent HPV-associated cancers in males, but also “is expected to provide indirect benefit to females through herd immunity.” It recommends that, “boys 11 through 12 years of age should be immunized routinely with three doses of HPV4 … [and] the vaccine can be given starting at [nine] years of age at the discretion of the physician.”
The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), a national organization of pro-family pediatricians that is distinct from the AAP, agrees that the HPV vaccine should be offered by pediatricians “when appropriate,” but emphasizes that it does not support a mandated vaccine, such as those required for children to attend school. In a policy statement on the HPV vaccine, the group states, “Not all adolescents will be sexually active. Some families present expectations, and provide support and monitoring, to guide their adolescent to delay sexual activity until adulthood and marriage and those values should be respected. Since the duration of protection offered by HPV vaccination is uncertain, these adolescents should be offered the option of deferring immunization until closer to the age of potential initiation of sexual activity. Adolescents known to be at risk of early sexual initiation should be immunized as early as possible because protection from the vaccine is much more effective if given before exposure to HPV. Patients and their families should be counseled, however, that HPV vaccination is not completely protective against cervical cancer…. The most medically safe sexual conduct for adolescents is to delay sexual debut and they should be counseled accordingly.”
The ACPeds policy statement also “recommends that parents use the availability of this vaccine to usher in a discussion of human sexuality in a way consistent with their culture and values at a time when they determine their child is ready to receive the information. Parents should closely monitor their children’s activities, reinforce their values, and consent to vaccination when appropriate. At that time, physicians should introduce the value of delaying sexual debut until marriage and fidelity within marriage as the only way to completely eliminate the risks associated with sexual activity.”
HPV Vaccine Recommended For Boys - October 27, 2011
HPV Vaccine Received by NC Girls- September 24, 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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