27-Mar-15 2:00 PM  CST

Health Officials Believe Better Outcomes If Boys Receive HPV Vaccine As Well As Girls

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STD). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the virus is so common that most men and women who are sexually active will at some point in their lives will be infected with HPV. What many may not realize is that there are different variations of the virus. Some of the strains may go undetected yet others can cause much more serious health issues such as genital warts and specific types of cancers. In fact HPV is one of the central factors in cervical cancer, but cancers of the vulva, anus, vagina, and penis may also be caused by HPV.

While this may seem like one more thing for us to fear the truth of the matter it that there is a way to combat the virus. Gardasil is a vaccine manufactured by Merck that provides protection against HPV. Primarily because HPV is known to be one of the undeniable factors associated with cervical cancer the vaccine was initially recommended for girls older than 9, but younger than 26. However, research suggests that if the vaccine were also recommended for boys the results would be even more encouraging.

Nearly all of cervical cancers are caused by HPV, but also 90% of anal cancers and 60% of oropharyngeal cancers, so in a process that seeks to eliminate the virus recommendations that include vaccination of boys makes sense. The CDC states that while the vaccine is extremely effective against the virus only 37% of girls and 13% of boys receive the vaccine. Many believe this is due to the cost factor associated with the vaccine and the fact that the vaccine must be given as a series of inoculations.

Initially the push was to market the inoculation to the parents of young girls, but with these latest findings parents of boys should be included as well. The CDC believe the vaccine has great value, but getting the word out to those who need it the most seems to be the limiting factor.

 

 

Resources:

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2015), “Human Papillomavirus”, http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv.htm, retrieved, 14. March 2015

 

Ross, M., (2015), “Greater emphasis on HPV vaccinations for boys could lead to better outcomes”, Pharmacy Times, http://www.pharmacytimes.com/news/Greater-Emphasis-on-HPV-Vaccinations-for-Boys-Could-Lead-to-Better-Outcomes, retrieved, 14. March 2015


For additional information on this article, please contact:
 
Kelley Simmons
 
Source: Sandy Andrews, CPhT, BLS  

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