Debate Over HPV Vaccination For Boys
Last week, NPR examined arguments from both sides over whether boys should recieve the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine which is FDA approved to protect against certain strains of the sexually transmitted virus that can lead to cervical cancer in women and genital warts in both sexes.
The vaccine has been in use for several years in Australia and has shown a significant reduction of newly diagnosed cases of genital warts and other HPV infections in young women and men.
Doug Lowy who works at the National Cancer Institute, and is a co-inventor of the HPV Vaccine Gardasil noted that just around 11% of the US girls recieve all 3 recommended doses while less than 50% receive even a single dose. Because those numbers are so low, it is unlikely thtat HPV rates will decrease in the US. According to Lowy increased vaccination of boys is suggested to have a large enhancing impact on trying to protect those girls who are not vaccinated.
Diane Solomon, who oversees prevention at NCI says that male vaccination is not cost effective. Accordign to her the greatest benefit in terms of health care costs is with decreasing cervical cancer and abnormalities, and man do not have a cervix. Although the vaccine protects against anal cancer and genital warts in men, those benefits do not lower the health care costs enough to warrant a male vaccination, she said.