HPV Vaccine Also Recommended for Boys

Government officials came to a consensus on recommending the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil for boys between ages 11 and 21. The vaccine — currently administered to girls and young women — has been approved for males since 2009.

Officials debated the cost effectiveness of giving boys the vaccine. The three-dose series, given over a six-month period, costs $120 per dose and giving the vaccine to boys is estimated to cost $38 million overall.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20 million Americans are infected with HPV, which can lead to cervical and other cancers. The vaccine is designed to help protect both girls and boys from the virus.

A study by the Guttmacher Institute revealed that 13% of all 15-year-olds surveyed have had vaginal sex, with figures increasing to 70% by age 19. According to the CDC, the HPV vaccine is more effective when given to young teens before sexual activity begins.

Controversy has sparked over the vaccine due to parents’ fears that the vaccine could be dangerous, its’ effectiveness in preventing cervical cancer and whether government officials should require it for school-aged children.

MD News March/April 2012



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