HPV vaccine for men: A maybe becomes a yes

The Pediatric Insider

© 2011 Roy Benaroch, MD

I wrote last year about the pros and cons of vaccination against HPV, or human papilloma virus. At the time, I thought the evidence was clear that the vaccine was a very good idea for girls, but I was more lukewarm on whether the evidence was as supportive for boys.

Since last year, several good studies have been published that have provided additional support for this vaccine for teens of both genders. Here’s just a few:

  • An Australian study documenting the near-disappearance of genital warts in young men and women after vaccination became widespread (Similar results were found in New Zealand.)
  • A study of over 600,000 vaccine doses showed essentially no serious adverse events
  • Proof of the effectiveness of preventing HPV-associated cancers in men

(If you’d like to see the full, extensive range of publications about this vaccine or other topics, visit the US National Library of Medicine’s free PubMed search engine.)

After reviewing the new evidence, an advisory board to the CDC suggested that HPV vaccination now be recommended for all children at age 11-12. This replaces the 2009 recommendation that the vaccine be routinely given only to girls. It’s expected that this new recommendation, once endorsed formally by the CDC, will dramatically reduce the overall disease burden, including HPV-associated cancers totaling 18,000 a year in women and 7,000 a year in men. In addition, routinely vaccinating boys should help reduce overall disease transmission.

I’m happy to change my mind when new and better evidence appears. In this case, it’s good to know that as more studies are done, support for HPV vaccine’s safety and effectiveness has grown. It looks like this vaccine is a winner. Protect your kids, and make sure they get the vaccine instead of HPV.

Explore posts in the same categories: In the news, Medical problems

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3 Comments on “HPV vaccine for men: A maybe becomes a yes”

  1. Dawn Kenny Says:

    My son is 12 and I opted out for the HPV inoculation waiting for more research. It seems that these tests ‘flip-flop’ for the first several years. If we do decide to go ahead with it, how long does it take to be affective?


  2. Dr. Roy Says:

    Dawn, I’m unaware of any “flip flopping” data on the HPV vaccine– all of the evidence I’ve seen shows it’s safe and effective. The only news that has changed is that we now have proof that it works in men, too (prior to this, there had only been good data in women.)

    Your son will have good protection within a month of the last dose (there are 3 doses in the series.)


  3. Dr. Roy Says:

    Kelsey posted this in Topic Suggestions, I pasted it here. It’s a cool link!

    Hi Roy,

    I wanted to pass along an infographic we produced for Good: Vaccination Nation. The graphic examines modern attitudes about vaccinations and why parents are still delaying or refusing vaccines for their children.

    Embedded is the infographic link, and if you like it, we’d love for your to post it. Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Infographic: Vaccination Nation



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