An advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering a new recommendation that would add human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines to the immunizations boys receive as a standard of care. The vaccine is already given to girls between ages 9 and 26 as a way to prevent cervical cancers, genital warts, and other health concerns associated with the sexually-transmitted virus.
CNN.com reports on the reasoning behind the potential new policy:
Part of the push now is because girls aren't getting vaccinated in the numbers doctors expected. "If the boys are also immunized, it reduces the transmission back and forth," says Schaffner.
By receiving the vaccine, boys will also be protected against cancers of the penis and rectum. Also, there is growing evidence of HPV causing the recent increase in head and neck cancer. A study released earlier this month found approximately 70% of all oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV infection. The HPV vaccine protects against both, says Schaffner.
Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics began including the HPV vaccine on its list of recommended vaccines for boys.