Posted on February 7th, 2012 by
The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that boys be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV). Vaccination of boys has also been recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Human papillomaviruses consist of more than 100 different viruses. Some types of HPV cause warts on the hands or feet, others cause genital warts, and some have been linked with cancer. HPV-related cancers include cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, anal cancer, penile cancer, and certain types of head and neck cancer.
The types of HPV that cause cancer or genital warts are transmitted sexually. HPV infection is extremely common and generally occurs soon after an individual becomes sexually active. Although most infections resolve on their own, some persist and increase cancer risk.
The vaccine that is being recommended for boys is Gardasil®, which protects against four types of HPV: types 6, 11, 16, and 18. HPV types 16 and 18 are linked with cancer and HPV types 6 and 11 account for most cases of genital warts. Gardasil does not prevent infection with all cancer-related types of HPV, but is expected to substantially reduce the risk of HPV-related cancer. Gardasil was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2006 for the prevention of cervical cancer and genital warts in girls. The FDA approved Gardasil for boys in 2010.
In order to be maximally effective, HPV vaccination should occur before a child becomes sexually active. Routine vaccination of boys is recommended at ages 11-12, but the vaccine can also be given to boys as young as nine and to men up to the age of 26. The vaccine is given in three doses.
Reference: American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Infectious Diseases. Policy Statement: Recommended Childhood and Adolescent Immunization Schedules—United States, 2012. Pediatrics. 2012;129:385-386.
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