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HPV Vaccine Not Just For Girls Anymore

A CDC panel has expanded their recommendation on the HPV vaccine to include boys. Finally.

After all the furor over giving this shot to girls, it’s great to see the CDC do the right thing and recommend it to boys as well. The virus can affect boys as well as girls, it’s only right that they also be vaccinated for it.

In case you’ve been living under a rock: the HPV vaccine protects against cancer-causing strains of the human papilloma virus. Because it’s usually sexually transmitted, some Republicans have made a big stink about the vaccine being a license for free sex.

It’s hard to follow that argument out to its natural conclusion without wincing. Essentially they’re saying they’d rather see kids contract cancer than have sex. Leaving that aside, though. So far the discussion has focused on girls. Now boys can get in on the HPV vaccine too. That’s great because women generally catch HPV from their male partners. As one expert put it, it’s only fair that boys share in the burden of herd immunity.

The HPV vaccine for boys is about more than asking them to help keep their future partners safe, though. Boys are at risk for HPV-related cancers, too. As Jezebel puts it:

…vaccinating boys won’t just be good for their female partners. Those who grow up to have sex with men will have added protection against anal cancer. And all will have a lower risk of HPV-related throat cancer, which doctors say could be more common than cervical cancer by 2020 if left unchecked. It’s clearer than ever that HPV is not just a women’s issue — it’s a large-scale public health problem, and all of the public needs all the protection they can get.

It’s exciting to think that the next generation of kids might grow up not having to worry about some of the life-threatening diseases we faced.

Will your son be getting the HPV vaccine?

Photo: stevendepolo

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