CDC Says HPV Vaccine Not Just for Girls


The Center for Disease Control this week voted to recommend males between the ages of 12 and 21 be vaccinated for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) the virus that causes genital warts and is linked to high rates of cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancer in females and penile cancer males and anal and oral cancers in both genders. There is also resent research that shows a link between HPV cardiovascular disease and stroke, as well as cancer of the head and neck.

HPV is currently the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and can be transmitted between sexual partners even when there are no signs of infection. Previously it was only recommended for females to be vaccinated. The CDC is also recommending that males who have sex with males be vaccinated up to age 26.

The CDC reports that females are not getting vaccinated at the rates currently hoped since the vaccine first became available. Vaccinating males will help reduce the spread of HPV and reduce the rates of related cancers. While the vaccine has been available to males since 2009 there has not been a public push by health care providers for males to be vaccinated until recently.

The HPV vaccine may not be as popular as originally hoped due to cost, which is roughly 360.00 for all three doses. Further, many people may not understand that all three doses must be received for it to be effective and many parents think that you should wait until someone becomes sexually active before starting the vaccine. This is troublesome on two counts. First, the vaccines must be received before sexual activity occurs to be effective in preventing HPV. Second, parents assume they know when their child is sexually active and many times they are wrong. Many teens engage in sexual activity without their parent’s knowledge.

While controversial, the HPV vaccine is 90% effective in preventing several but not all strains of HPV. Anyone considering the HPV vaccine should discuss the pros and cons with their health care provider.


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