October 26, 2011
Government Medical Panel Recommends HPV Vaccine For Boys
A government medical panel said on Tuesday that the controversial HPV shot given to girls should also be given to boys to help prevent the spread of the sexually transmitted virus.
Experts say a key benefit of routinely vaccinating boys could be preventing the spread of the human papilloma virus to others through sex.
The vaccine has been available to boys for two years but Tuesday's vote was the first to recommend it through routine vaccination.
Just 49 percent of adolescent girls have gotten at least the first of the recommended three HPV shots.
The vaccine is approved for use in boys and girls ages 9 to 26, but it is usually given to 11- and 12-year-olds when they are scheduled to get other vaccines.
The committee recommended males 13 through 21 years get vaccinated if they haven't already.
A study on gay men found that the vaccine was 75 percent effective in preventing cancer in males.
About 50 to 80 percent of men and women are infected with HPV in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The virus can cause genital warts, cervical cancer and anal cancer. Some data suggest that less than 1.5 percent of adolescent males have gotten the vaccine.
The Food and Drug Administration first approved the vaccine Gardasil in 2006. Since then, Cervarix, another vaccine, has also been approved.
"Both vaccines were tested in thousands of people around the world. These studies showed no serious safety concerns. Common, mild adverse events reported during these studies include pain where the shot was given, fever, dizziness, and nausea," according to the CDC website.
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